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  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         First XV 1966-67
        2nd  XV 1969-70  
        2nd (3rd ?) XV 1970-71  


Rugby Reviews by Ivor J. Nicholas   1949

Six were sent to me by Gerald Neville, the team won all but one of the games


Saturday  October 1st. 1949

1st XV v Stowe School                           Away

Won 25-06  (5 goals, 2 tries)       Half-time    10 - nil


Well done!   This was a very promising performance for the first match of the season, particularly as we had practically no games practice at all owing to the hardness of our own pitch.  Before the game I was a bit afraid that our tackling and falling on the ball might prove a weakness, but as it turned out, in both these arts we did quite well.

It was a very interesting and well fought game throughout, and proved in the main to be a struggle between our backs, who were much superior to Stowe’s and the Stowe forwards who got the ball back the majority of the scrums and lineouts.  Our forwards did however keep at it and managed to give our backs sufficient of the ball for them to be able to show how good they were.

In the first half we scored twice: the first try was due to good forward opportunism following a mistake by the Stowe threes, and the second to good threequarter play.  After exhortation at half-time, we started the second half in paralytic fashion and allowed Stowe to dominate the game completely.  Their forwards ran ours off their feet and by good handling and combined backing-up, they soon scored twice and loomed lines pulling the game round. Fortunately our forwards made a creditable recovery and their efforts were heartened by a good try following a brilliant cut-through.  Before the end brilliant back play brought us two more tries.


Points to comment:-

(i)                the excellent goal running.

(ii)             The strong running of our backs, who were always looming up for a chance to break through.

(iii)           At least two brilliant “dummies”.

Points to criticize:-

(i)                the general lifelessness of the forwards.  When they are beaten back in set scrums and lineouts, it is all the more necessary for all forwards to be quick on the ball and make the most of their chances in loose scrums where lack of weight is not as much a handicap.

(ii)             Some careless handling of the backs, which spoiled good chances:  concentration and practice needed to remedy this.


Explanations/ Abbreviations (added by Gerald Neville):

lineouts-- part of forward play.  After a kick into touch, the ball is thrown into the two lines of players to restart the game

threequarters are made up of--scrum half, fly half, left and right centres, left and right wings.



1st XV v Bedford School 3rd XV       Away       Sat.  Oct  15th  1949


Won 17-3  (1 goal 4 tries to 1 pen. goal)

Half-time    6 - nil


This was another good win by the School XV, but it was not an altogether convincing display and there were weaknesses.  Few of the shortcomings revealed in the last game had been remedied, and in particular the loose scrimmaging of the forwards was extremely bad.  For once our forwards were not overweighted, and though we were playing with a substitute hooker we quite held our own in the set scrums: in the lineouts too there was some improvement.  But the basic scrimmaging was shocking.  Though we were often in a favourable position to heel the ball, time and again it was lost owing to poor packing (or no packing at all) or to reluctance to use the feet.

It should be obvious that a quick heel for a loose scrum is likely be more valuable than a heel from a set scrum.  In set scrums the defending backs are all back in position and it is far more difficult to force a break-through than for loose play where it is likely that the defenders be somewhat out of position.  We are likely to meet packs this time who will have the advantage over us in height and weight, and if this advantage enables them to rule the set scrums and the lineouts it will be more than ever necessary for us to show considerably improved play in loose scrummages, if our backs are to see much of the ball.

Our backs ran strongly and always loomed dangerous but at times some of the running was very ill-directed: it is usually better to run round a group of opponents rather than straight into them!  The handling was an improvement from the last match, but still there were too many takeable passes dropped (more practice!)  The defence was good.  : we tackled well and the falling on the ball to stop dribbles and rushes was prompt and courageous.  Bedford never looked like scoring a try.  We scored twice in the first half and three times in the second; four of the times followed good running by the backs and the fifth was a well-deserved opportunist try by a wing forward who very promptly took advantage of a defendant’s mistake.


Explanations/ Abbreviations (added by Gerald Neville):

Overweighted--when the opposition forwards have more weight than the school team

scummages-- involves forwards

takeable passes-- correct, passes that are easy to catch



1st XV v The King’s School Peterborough       Home       Sat.  Oct  22nd.  1949


Won 28-14  (2 goals, 1 p.g., 5 tries  - 1 gl  1 p.g. 2 tries)

Half-time    16 - 3


This was an exciting and enjoyable game, particularly in the first half, with both sides doing their best to open out the game and play enterprising Rugger.  Our much criticised and much abused forwards started this game in fine style and in the first few minutes by lively backing up had scored a try all on their own.  For the whole of the first half they did their work well and got the ball back four scrums and lineouts to give our backs plenty of chances to show their skill.  Helped by some poor running and half-hearted tackling our backs were able to score three good tries by clever passing and determined running.  The Peterborough threequarters had their chances too and the centres ran strongly, but there was often very little aim in their running and they did not combine nearly as well as did our backs.  Our tackling was good enough to keep them out and their only score was a penalty goal.

In the second half the play was not nearly as good.  The forwards in both sides played very scrappily and could not keep together, so that the scrumhalves were not often able to get the ball away clearly.  Loose scrumming in particular was very bad – the old fault.  Each side scored three times in this half but not one of the tries came from a good threequarter movement.  Peterborough quite held their own in this half and owing to some showy defensive play scored at one time twice in two minutes.

The first half improvement shown by the forwards is most encouraging, but they must learn to keep at it throughout the game and bind tight in loose scrums.

Apart from new boys, there very few of the school present to support their XV.


Explanations/ Abbreviations (added by Gerald Neville):

1 p.g  one penalty goal

1 gl    one goal

Rugger-- idiomatic term for Rugby Football

threequarters are made up of--scrum half, fly half, left and right centres, left and right wings.



Wed.  Nov 2nd. 1949


1st XV v Kettering G.S.                         Away

Won 16-14  (2 gls, 1 p.g., 1 try to 1 gl 3 tries)

Half-time    8-8


Congratulations to our 1st XV on being our first school 1st XV to win at Kettering for many years.  This was an extremely hard-fought game with the results in doubt right to the end.  How exciting the match was will be seen from the record of the scoring (our points first):-  nil-5: nil-8: 5-8; 8-8: 13-8: 13-11: 16-11: 16-14.  It was, as has been usual this season, a fight between our backs and our opponents’ forwards.   The Kettering pack played well together and repeatedly made much ground by well-supported dribbling rushes which were often only partially checked by falling, and could only be completely checked by all the forwards gathering round quickly – and this was seldom seen.  Our backs combined well and ran strongly and always loomed dangerous, but did not have good chances, for when the forwards did get the ball back, the heeling was often so slow and ragged that the scrum half was not given a fair chance to get his pass out cleanly.  Our forwards individually all played well but their efforts were spoilt by poor backing –up and it was seldom that they were all together.  The loose scrumming again was weak and Kettering took advantage of this to start dribbling rushes away from the scrum.  Kettering did score one “copy-book” try which should have been an object lesson to our forwards.  A rush down the field was cleared to our 25, but their forwards made such a perfect quick heel that their backs were away to score unopposed before our defence had recovered position.  How easy it looked, and how easy it would be for our backs to do the same, if they were given the same opportunity.

We made a disastrous start, with most of the team half-asleep and after five minutes play were eight points behind.  Our play then improved considerably and much of the game was in the Kettering half but it took us till half-time to draw level.  We started the second half badly too, but warmed up later.  We really must learn to go all out right from the start.

The tackling was not always perfect – except for a another tackle near the line, tackling must always be low – but there was some very good touch-receiving and as will be seen from the score, it was the excellent goal kicking that gave us our win.

A very good win and – team all round – a splendid performance!


Explanations/ Abbreviations (added by Gerald Neville):

2 gls -- two goals, 1 pg -- one penalty goal, nil -- 0



Saturday  Nov 5th  1949


1st XV v Old Northamptonians Extra 1st XV                          Home

Lost 13 -8  (2 goals 1 try to 1 goal 1 dropped goal)

Half-time    10 - 3


Considering the bad conditions – the ground was sodden, the ball was greasy and difficult to handle and it rained throughout the match – this was a surprisingly good game.  It was the first time this season that our 1st XV had had to play in wet weather and they adapted themselves well.  The forwards were up against a bigger and heavier pack but they played well in the loose and showed much more dash and fire than in some recent games.  The loose set scrums were again a weakness and gave little chance to the scrumhalf who had enough troubles to meet without the added difficulty of slovenly heeling.

Both sides made commendable efforts to open out the game when they might well have been excused for keeping the ball close – indeed one does not often see so much passing on such a wet day.  There were one or two tackling lapses on our side which proved expensive and there was at times a dreadful hesitation to go for the ball.  Falling on the ball must be prompt at all times, and this is all the more necessary when the ball is difficult to hold and may easily slip from one’s grasp.

The play throughout was very even and we were rather unlucky to be losing 10-3 at half-time.  Their first goal resulted from one of our missed tackles, but their second score was rather lucky.  A good movement by our threequarters was in sight of bringing a try when the slipping ball was lost and instead, a clean gather and a good run resulted in a try for our opponents.  Our only score this half was a very good dropped goal.

In the second half we had more of the play – the forwards particularly were good with dribbles and dashes and they kept the ball mainly in the opponent’s half.  We scored one goal and the Old Northamptonians replied with a try after good passing.  We continued to press but unable to score again, although we came near more than once and might one time only an unlucky bounce robbed us of a try.


Explanations/ Abbreviations (added by Gerald Neville):

Old Northamptonians --Northampton Grammar School Old Boys

threequarters are made up of--scrum half, fly half, left and right centres, left and right wings.




Wed.  Nov 30th  1949


1st XV v Northampton G.S.                             Home

Won 32 -nil  (4 goals, 4 tries)

Half-time    17 - nil


Congratulations to our 1st XV on a particularly fine win.  Our forwards on this occasion excelled themselves, and although they were beaten, as usual in the set scrums, they took every opportunity to get the ball back, and their work in the loose scrums in the first half was probably the finest any school team has produced.  They were round the ball quickly and used their feet well.  Their heeling was so good that the scrum half was able to send out a stream of first-rate passes and our backs had plenty of chances.

The Northampton defence was no match for our strong running and our backs were continually on the attack.  They ran and passed at top speed and were always making ground, finding gaps in the defence.  Had their finishing been as good as their midfield play, the score at halftime might well have been doubled.  Often scoring openings were made, when we had four men to beat three, or three to beat two and this should have resulted, but a pass to the wrong side, or no pass at all or careless handling at the critical moment caused the movements to break down.

In the second half, the Northampton forwards quite rightly did their best to keep the game close and prevent the ball getting out into the open, and in this they succeeded quite well.  Our backs for long periods saw little of the ball, but our forwards never gave up trying and although they did not get the ball back as often as in the first half, they did give the backs some chances to show their excellence.  Some of the tries scored were really brilliant.


A great achievement


Explanations/Abbreviations (added by Gerald Neville):

1 XV v Northampton Grammar School

 nil    0