Representative rugby

Worksop College recently published a new webpage to encourage people to apply for rugby scholarships ( One key thing missing from this page however, is a list of representative players – something that has never been produced. However, I am gradually getting round to documenting this rather long list. Records were kept a lot more diligently in the years before technology and as a result, documenting the early successes in this area was quite straightforward.

A few things to note:

  • Where a player is listed more than once (i.e. he played representative rugby in more than one season), on his final mention his other representative honours will also be listed (i.e. club, country etc)
  • The Northern/Midlands/Southern Public Schools XV were pretty much the equivalent to the current schools regional setup
  • The England/Scotland Public Schools XV was pretty much equivalent to the current England/Scotland schools teams up until the 1950s
  • Worksop College were pretty good at rugby in the old days!

1921 – 1950

Season Name Schoolboy teams Post-schoolboy teams/other
1928/1929 G.Laing Northern Public Schools Blackheath, Army
1929/1930 G.C.V. Knowlson England Public Schools
1930/1931 W.P. Heath Northern Public Schools, England Public Schools
D.R. McLennan Scotland Public Schools, Northern Public Schools
1932/1933 F. Martin England Public Schools, Northern Public Schools Oxford University
G.H. Stephens Northern Public Schools
H.D. Venables Northern Public Schools
1934/1935 W.R. Andrews Scottish Public Schools, Northern Public Schools
K. Hall Northern Public Schools Cambridge University
1935/1936 R.S. Stephens Northern Public Schools
H.F. Barker Northern Public Schools
1936/1937 H.F. Barker England Public Schools, Northern Public Schools
1937/1938 H.F. Barker England Public Schools, Northern Public Schools
D. Collinge Northern Public Schools
J.S. Pinkney Northern Public Schools
P.E.F. Rhodes Northern Public Schools
J.B.C Teale Northern Public Schools
1938/1939 E.D.W. Paul Northern Public Schools
J.S. Pinkney Scotland Public Schools, Northern Public Schools
A.L. Evans Northern Public Schools
P.E.F. Rhodes Northern Public Schools Leicester
A.J.A. Ferguson Northern Public Schools
1939/1940 A.L. Evans Northern Public Schools Cambridge University, The Army, England
R.W.J. Naismith Northern Public Schools
1940/1941 G.C. Buchanan Northern Public Schools
P.T. Francis Northern Public Schools
1941/1942 H.D. Jennison The Rest Vs Home Counties
T.A.S. Anderson Northern Public Schools
P. Carmichael Northern Public Schools
1942/1943 N.M. Hall Northern Public Schools (Captain), Midland Public Schools Army (Captain), St Mary’s Hospital, Richmond, England (Captain)
C.H. Ewart Northern Public Schools, Midland Public Schools
W.G. Briggs Northern Public Schools
E.R. Holliday Northern Public Schools
J.M. Taylor Northern Public Schools
T. Bennett Northern Public Schools
D.W. Hardy Northern Public Schools


A cricket powerhouse

Worksop College has (pretty much) always been good at cricket, however over the last ten years or so things have moved onto the next level, with a large increase in England junior representation and most importantly the progression of those players to the senior ranks. The reason for this cricketing excellence probably stems from the excellent 1st XI square laid in the latter stages of Victorian age, which in turn led to excellent cricketers on the teaching staff in those early years and this has somehow percolated through the years.

I digress… 2015 has been especially good; here are some highlights:

  • Joe Root played an integral role in England winning the Ashes and was voted the best batsman in the world;
  • Samit Patel was recalled to the England squad for the forthcoming tour of UAE;
  • Patel, Brett Hutton and Billy Root were all in the Nottinghamshire XI whom p;played Hampshire in September;
  • Richard Kettleborough umpired the Cricket World Cup final;
  • Current Worksop pupil Tom Keast has been selected for the England under 19 team

Not a bad set of stats for a school with only 250 boys!

The Dorm Run

Today (24th March) is the 96th running of the Dorm Run. Despite the first event taking place in 1902, the race has been cancelled a number of times due to war, illness and weather. The last time the race was cancelled was 1977, meaning we have had a continuous run of 38 years, the longest ever! In previous years, the race always took place on Shrove Tuesday meaning the weather was often poor. Today could be an interesting day, not because the identity of the winner is in any doubt, but more the time the winner may achieve. 1:55 800m man Oliver Dane (4th place at the England Schools 800m in 2014) will almost certainly win the race, but can he become the first Vth former to run sub 21 minutes? That last race cancellation in 1977 not only dashed Jack Buckner’s chances of breaking his course record (20:38) of the year before but meant he would not be able to win the race 4 times – something that has to date never been achieved. Conditions on the course have a huge impact on the winning time and a fast winning time is not only indicative of a good runner, but also good underfoot conditions. The current Vth form record stands at 21:14 set in 1990 by S.T. Lewis (1988-1993) – he was a Welsh international steeplechaser and ran 3:45 for the 1500m at Loughborough post-Worksop. A full list of Dorm Run winners etc can be found here.

Rugby sevens is back!

Anyone with a vague interest in sport at Worksop will be pleased to see that rugby sevens is now firmly back on the College sporting calendar. Sevens is fantastic game and seems to suit the smaller schools whom don’t necessarily need to have the depth in squad numbers that union requires.

Despite having some cracking sevens teams over the years, Worksop have only dabbled in the game when the quality of rugby at the College has been at its highest. We first hear of a Worksop College VII in 1943 when the team (lead by future England captain Nim Hall) won the Northern School’s Sevens. Had the team been entered into Rosslyn Park competition, I am sure they would have progressed to the final stages there too – the competition, having been established in the late 1930s was still in its infancy then.

The College dabbled in sevens in the late 40s and early 50s and in amazingly in 1948 managed to reach the semi-finals of the Rosslyn Park competition under the leadership of P.C.A. Garbutt (whom would later that season play for the England Public Schools XV and later on still play regularly for the Army XV.

Round 1 Whitgift 11-3
Round 2 Wycliffe 21-0 
Round 3 St Bede’s 6-3
Round 4 Ruthin School 8-5 (after extra time)
Semi-final Taunton 3-11
Final Taunton vs Christ’s Hospital 15-6

it wasn’t until the 1950s that the Public Schools sevens competition became a regular fixture and in 1958 the College VII beat Dulwich (Surrey Schools champions) and Rugby School but lost out to K.E.S Birmingham. However, it was in 1960 that real success occurred, when the the VII (coached by Jeff Butterfield) went one better than 1948 and reached the Rosslyn Park final, narrowly losing after extra time had been played.

Round 1 Culford 13-3
Round 2 Rutlish 15-0
Round 3 Oundle 15-0
Quarter-final Marlborough 6-2
Semi-final Dulwich 6-5
Final Belfast Academicals 5-8 (after extra time)
The College rugby sevens team in 1960 (David is back row, second from left)

The College rugby sevens team in 1960

The success of this team was down to their speed and fitness, with Reason, Earnshaw, Woodcock and Griffiths all capable of close to 10s for the 100y (around 11s for the 100m). Woodcock, Griffiths and Tarbatt were all capable of sub 2 for the 880y. Additionally, the captain (Tarbatt) was a member of the England Public Schools XV – a quality side through and through.

Despite this success, sevens died a death after Jeff Butterfield left the College in the early 1960s and it wasn’t until the 90s that the team re-emerged but without the levels of success seen previously (semi-finalists in the Three Counties Schoolboy Sevens held at Newark in 1991 being an exception). It wasn’t until 2007 that the highly successful unbeaten 1st XV sensibly tried their luck at the scaled-down version of the game and despite winning at Newark, couldn’t translate this at Mount St Mary’s where despite a good victory against Leeds Grammar (34-0) the team was beaten by St Peter’s York in the Cup quarter final (0-29).

And so onto recent times… At Mount St Mary’s in 2014 the College VII won the Plate final after victories against Sedbergh ‘B’ (24-10), Stonyhurst (42-7) and Ampleforth (45-12), but this was their only competition of the year.

2015 promises to be an exciting season. After a highly-successful term of union, the team took delivery of some shiny new sevens jerseys and put them to good use at a triangular match with Mount St Mary’s and Trent College, beating both sides. At their first official tournament of the year at Newark, four consecutive victories against Stowe, Uppingham, Welbeck and King’s Grantham ended with a defeat to the eventual winners (Denstone) and a narrow defeat to finalists Oakham.

 Pool game Stowe 24-12
 Pool game Uppingham 22-14
 Pool game King’s Grantham 24-17
 Pool game Welbeck 28-10
 Pool game Denstone 12-33
 Semi-final Oakham 5-10

At the Northern School sevens, the VII performed well beating last year’s winners Woodhouse Grove but narrowly lost out in the semi-final against Hymers. Hymers were themselves (heavily) defeated by Bradford Grammar in the final (0-24).

 Pool game Ampleforth 22-12
 Pool game Loretto 31-7
 Pool game Sedbergh 7-31
 Pool game Woodhouse Grove 14-7
Quarter-final St Anselms, Birkenhead 36-5
Semi-final Hymers 17-24

At Mount St Mary’s Sevens on 15 March, Worksop turned up the pace and shocked a few established rugby schools in the process. They were actually unbeaten at the tournament but their 17-17 draw in the Cup final against an old foe, went the way of the opponents on account of them scoring the last try of the game. An unlucky way to lose out, but momentum is building nicely ahead of Rosslyn Park!

 Pool game Barnard Castle 35-15
 Pool game Hymers 31-7
 Pool game RGS Newcastle 14-12
 Pool game King’s School, Worcester 21-0
Cup semi-final Ampleforth 29-10
Cup final QEGS Wakefield 17-17

An early Worksop (Cuthbert’s) College postcard

Once upon a time, the majority of photos doing the rounds were in the form of postcards. This was probably due to the fact that cameras weren’t owned by many, even those wealthy enough to attend a private school! One of the nice things about postcards is that some of them (most are unused, sadly) were actually used as a method of communication and contain some very interesting information.

Here we see a postcard from the 1900s showing Cuthbert’s College on a (seemingly) cold day. It has to be said that the photographer could have chosen a better shot – it all looks a bit depressing – although that could-well be snow and not mud! Judging by the halfpenny (Edward VII) stamp, this card was probably sent between January 1902 – 25th November 1904, which tallies with the lack of buildings visible.

The message penned onto the postcard speaks of a measles epidemic (over 50 cases) – sadly such outbreaks were not uncommon at the time and the fact that nearly all Victorian boarding schools still have a sanitarium speaks volumes. The signature on the card cannot be made out and the recipient (Miss F Gray) doesn’t correspond to anyone going by the same surname whom left Cuthbert’s College in the early 1900s. Aside from looking at the 1901 census information – we’ll just never know.

Interestingly if you do a bit of online digging, you’ll find that between 1905 – 1925 a dental surgeon named Arthur Joseph Gray is listed as practicing from 277 Glossop Road, Sheffield. It is safe to assume that Dr Gray was at the same address prior to 1905, Miss F Gray was his daughter and the fact that the writer of the postcard calls her ‘little sissie’ indicates he was also a sibling. Why the author isn’t mentioned in any College rolls again remains a mystery.

Edit: Or maybe it’s no mystery at all… Sadly there is an E.J.W. Gray listed on the 1914-1918 Roll of Honour and the signature on the postcard appears to start with an ‘E’. This doesn’t explain the use of an old stamp (I am of course no expert on stamps); the postcard could just have been an old edition.

Edis John William Gray was a member of the Durham Light Infantry (Second Lieutenant); the following is an extract from the Cuthbertian, December 1916:

We have received the following news of E. J. W. Gray from his parents: “He has been missing since Loos, September 26th, 1915, when doubling back with his men about 1:30 p.m. We are told he was wounded in both knees, and his men do not seem to have been able to bring him in. Three other officers and from 30 to 40 men are missing also, and we hear when the Guards re-took the hill on Sunday night the ground had been cleared. Under these circumstances we have not given up hope”.

Edis was never found.

The College OTC 1934

Another eBay purchase dropped on my doormat this morning – this time it’s a postcard of the Worksop College Officer Training Corps taken in 1934. The OTC band seems to be taking part in some sort of competition in Hampshire. The persons on the photo are unknown.

Schoolboy scratchings

Schoolboys have always enjoyed scratching their names on things, which is great if many years later you stumble across them! I recently found these scratched into the brickwork on the Great Hall, I have included info about the offenders below – all very interesting!

OW hockey and netball

An OW men’s hockey XI took on the Worksop College 1st XI on Sunday 11th January. 2014 1st XI captain Tim Foulds did an excellent job of rallying the troops and managed to raise a strong OW scratch team. Alas, the College are having a good season (see results here) and managed a 2-1 win over the OWs.

The OW team was selected from: Tim Foulds (Rotherham), Charlie Page (Lancaster Uni), Will Taylor, Josh Dixon, Ollie Willars (Beeston and England), Charlie Willars, Conor Smith, Joe Shakespeare, Jake Clothier, Ferghal Evans, Will Lee and Craig Walker.

The ladies netball was more successful with the OWs running out 18-9 winners in front of a large crowd. Beating an organised College side is mean feat for a scratch team and the OW netball players are to be heartily congratulated!

2015 OW hockey

2015 OW hockey – photo courtesy of James Sorsby