Rugby                                                                                                                                                                        Home

Athletics Basketball Cricket Cycling Rugby Swimming Sports

Items in yellow boxes are on this web page

Ivor Nicholas

Don White

Johnny Hyde Geoff Butterfield Tony Sparrow OGs Rugby
Paul Wills

Bob Taylor

Rugby at Bedford Under 15 Rugby 1951    
  Under13 XV 1960-61       First XV 1960-61
    Under 14 XV 1961-62     First XV 1961-62
        2nd XV 1963-64 First XV 1964-65
          First XV 1965-66
Under 12 XV 1966-67       U15XV-1966-67 First XV 1966-67

2nd XV-1968-69

    2nd XV 1973-74   2nd XV 1969-70  
    1st XV   2nd (3rd ?) XV 1970-71  

Mr Wrenn had a word for critics of Rugby who would like to see the soccer code introduced through grammar schools or boys give a choice between the two games.  'it takes thirty boys to play a Rugger match.... as against the twenty-two required for soccer.  In this way it is possible for a boy to get a game once a week instead of once a fortnight.'      Speech 1950 Prize Giving.     Speech days    

After many years of stimulating and devoted care of Rugby Football in the School: Mr. I. J. Nicholas has given up the control of: but not of course his consuming interest in, the game. During his unsparing service to School Rugby: notable successes county and country-wide were achieved, and many generations of Old Boys, to some of whom the highest Rugby honours have fallen, will remember his coaching with pride and affection. Mr. A. E. Sparrow has now taken over in his stead: and we wish him equal success.   WGS Magazine:  AUTUMN TERM: 1954




Paul Wills:     Died as a result of a Broken Neck whilst playing for the first XV against
                     Kings School, Peterborough

                     November  1964.  Died 19th December 1954


Paul was a great character, fearless and brave in tackling people far bigger and heavier than himself. The accident happened when Paul made a desperate tackle from behind, and round the legs, as we were always taught.  His neck was broken as the leg of the opponent came up and knocked Paul`s head back. You can imagine what a traumatic impact such an accident had, on his family (in Rushden) on the rest of the team and ,indeed, on the school.  Graham Ridge Vice Captain (1948)








The response from Barry Waite about Mr.Sparrow is as follows:

Was this his finest hour. Or ours. A tribute to Tony Sparrow 1st XV coach

It was to be my last academic year at WGS. We congregated in September 1966, with great hopes for our 1st XV performances on the rugby field. After all we were coming from a 14 wins /3 losses the season before and had retained many players.

First match, at home, against juggernaught Northampton Grammar school.  Disaster, a 22-0 loss. Tony told us we had not played well, but without emotion he set the expectation for much better to come.

The season began to move well, win after win, multiple games in sequence without points being scored against us. An almighty hard worked victory against a much more powerful Old Grammarians XV at their playing field. So to the last game of the season, the last game for many of the team in WGS colours,.  We were at Northampton Grammar school, our consecutive 17wins were now to be tested by the team that had well beaten us on the opening day of the season .  N.G.S  a good team with well know players.

Tony Sparrow was calm; he had said he thought we would win. I did not worry about making tackles, Tony Sparrow had told me he knew I would, and he knew Alfie Allen would be explosive in the centre, that Dave Toseland would put his silky touches into the game. Bill Drew would be unmoveable.  He told us how we would win, in his calm quiet way.

A game it was, nothing given on either side. With little time left, W.G.S one score ahead, Bernie Cotton , the Northampton centre , a great athlete and England hockey player, burst through .  Oh no, Bernie and one man outside of him against E.R.Nevett , our full back. The world went to slow motion, why was I not back there, where was the help?

Bernie threw the dummy , Rex Nevett nailed the tackle, within microseconds we were 15 men behind the ball.  Rex had one tackle to make that season , Rex made the season with one tackle.  Dave Hill our scrum half played the time out wonderfully on the touch line. The whistle, we were there, 18 consecutive victories.

Tony Sparrow would not have visible celebrations, he was a decent man, respectful to opponents, and our play was to do our talking. How the world of sport needs more Tony Sparrows today.

As we sat in the changing room, Tony walked in, and a spontaneous outburst of ‘’He’s a jolly good fellow ‘’ rang out from all. Tony stood there, a blink of the eye and a short slight wry smile .  It said it all. We will never know if we won it for him, we won it for ourselves or he made us think we were winning it for him, but really he wanted it for us

I think it may have been the latter.

Was this his finest hour or ours? What a legacy he has left.    Barry Waite (1960-67)       Back to 1960s Rugby Reunion


Under 15 Rugby 1951


Back Row:    Tony Sparrow :  'Doddy' Ridge:  'Trout' Stratton: Roger Boyd:  John(?)Kirby:  Robert Wagstaffe : Fred Jennings:  Don Stevens : Tom Boyce

Middle Row: PeterNegus: 'Paddy' Mayes: Peter Howes: Bill Priest (captain): R.A.'Dick' Field (who sadly died aged 21) Trevor A.'Taffy' Field (Dick's cousin):? Peter Buckey.

Front Row:            Michael Beeby: Jack Fairbrass.    (photo supplied by Peter Buckey,   labelling: Peter Buckey and Peter Eric David Howes)

Rugby at Bedford

year unknown: the team captain appears to be Barrie Tall. 

Back row: Graham Drage: Robert Scott: Alan Marlow: Richard Buchta: John Allen: Geoff Billett: Pete Tomkins: Peter Catlin: Richard Bradshaw.

Front row: Richard Barden: Bob de Banke: Martin Gray: Peter Jackson: Barrie Tall: Dave Stanton: Mick Leeson

Photo quality is no better in the original.


Under 13 XV 1960-61   Supplied by David Toseland


First XV 1960-61  Supplied by Sam Cole: Martin Gray and one other (please remind me!)

Under 14 XV 1961-62


First XV 1961-62

Rugby 2nd XV 1963-64   Supplied by David Toseland

The one in doubt is front row, far right. He is possibly B.Joyce or T.McIlroy.

Back Row: A.Randall, D.Stokes, J.A.Barron, I.Rawlins, H.N.Parr, W.Drew, S.I.Johnson, S.J.Hillier

Front Row: M.J.Felstead, G.Parker, R.M.Tite, S.W.Grant (Capt), P.Thacker, D. Toseland, Either B.Joyce or T.McIlroy

L-R back - ??, D.Stokes, J.A.Barron, ??, ??, W.Drew, ??(possibly a young K.L.Allen), S.J.Hillier

L-R front - M.J.Felstead, ??, R.M.Tite, S.W.Grant, P.Thacker, D.Toseland, ??


Rugby First XV 1964-65   Copied from Magazine by Patrick Thacker


Rugby First XV 1965-66    Supplied by David Toseland

Rugby First XV 1966-67   Supplied by David Toseland


U15-XV-1966-67   supplied by Steve Robinson


Second-XV-1968-69    supplied by Steve Robinson


2nd XV 1973-74

Top row (3 at the back)- Douglas, Pallet, Hallowell

Middle row - Gray, Martin Bond, Steve Parish, Justin Pickard, Mandeville, Jonathan Lee, Wyldes, Greg Owen, Jonathan Elderton, Bryant, White, Ashley, Andy Short.

Front row - Hatfield, Sparrow, Ben Galloway, Bean, Smith (captain), Hoogervorst, Prusakowski, Hanson, David Swales.

Rather a lot of players to choose from! These guys were a mixture of Lower 6th and Upper 6th I think (I left in 1975 after A levels). Sparrow was Tony's son.


1st XV 1973-4 Two pictures, both used in the newspaper report, the second shows the team in action.  See below.