Quatercentenary Rugby Match 1985

At the Annual Dinner in October 2011, I found myself seated at the same table as John Charnock, Ian Baldwin and Bryn Town who all recalled their participation in the rugby match that was staged as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations in 1985.

It was agreed that, owing to adverse weather, the match was postponed from the original date of 17th February (the 400th anniversary itself being 15th February) and was played nearer Easter. Memories extended to recalling that medals were presented to the participants but became hazy over the precise result. The pre-1975 team was thought to have won but the details of the score have been lost in the mists of time.

I have dug out the programme for the event and this included pen-portraits of the participants. Where are they now? And does anyone remember the exact score or claim to be one of the scorers?

John Bunch

Dorian Brooksby [1971–1978] has kindly provided some answers to John Bunch’s questions:

I was the Referee.

Having broken my leg playing for Halifax against Manchester the previous September, I was still recovering from the injury when I became Head of PE at Heath from January 1985 — hobbling and limping around the School for the first few months of my tenure was not an inspirational sight for someone in that position!

As a proud former pupil, I can remember being very disappointed not to have been able to take part in the celebratory match. However, I was delighted to be (just) fit enough to be the Referee instead — the original postponement of the game affording me this opportunity.

Obviously, being a ‘Post 1975’ pupil, I received some concern from some ‘Pre-1975’ players and friends. However, being 1971–1978 was an ideal age to straddle the two age groups and be impartial.

There was shock from some ‘Pre-1975’ players prior to the game when I conducted the obligatory ‘Stud Inspection’ — some aged boots showed their age and, like teeth, some studs had fallen out and were missing!

My recollections of the match are of a closely contested affair with many of the opposing players having good knowledge of each other either as friends or as team-mates at some stage — perhaps from a distant memory even a previous Prefect’s Detention needed settling or repaying? It made for an increasingly ‘keenly contested’ celebration match and, yes, for which medals were awarded afterwards.

I have a vivid recollection of one of many spicy loose rucks being a pertinent piece of action and point which immediately preceded the final whistle being blown.

A winner was certainly the fantastic event itself which was well organised and worthy of all being associated with the School’s high quality historical standing and with the game of rugby union it fed so well over many years at many levels.

My notebook will remain closed concealing the names taken for an occasional ‘misdemeanor or indiscretion’ during the event and therefore withholding the close result.

The whistle was blown for ... ‘NO SIDE!!’

Hope that this is of some interest and answers John’s questions.


Front page of the Quatercentenary Match Programme
Quatercentenary Rugby Match
A brief history of rugby at Heath Grammar School and lists of the most successful teams and successes for former pupils
Heath Grammar School Rugby
Information on the members of the Pre-1975 Fifteen
Pre-1975 Fifteen
Information on the members of the Post-1975 Fifteen
Post-1975 Fifteen