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Ghosts of Richmond Past

By AdminBTCov
March 1 2019

On a weekend when several new signings feature against Richmond at the BPA,

I thought I'd dig out a few old programmes from past matches, and see how we performed back then, and look at a few notable names from the past.

After a speculative dig through the 'archive' (well, some random plastic boxes in the workshop) I managed to find four quite quickly, but selected three from these.

The oldest of these is dated December 31st 1966 - so not too long after England footy lifted the Jules Rimet, and some years before we took a brief stranglehold on the RFU cup competition. The teamsheet shows a list of who's who among Midlands rugby back then, with the likes of Ricky Melville, Rod Webb, Tim Dalton, Billy Gittings, the finest scrummager I ever saw - Phil Judd, Jim Broderick, Ron Jones etc. featuring.

'Club Notes' praises the Supporters' Club, majoring on their competition to guess the weight of a Hillman Imp Super (I had one!) with luggage and passengers, and the winner drove home in the car. Maybe something for the current incarnation to emulate(?) but the procurement of a locally manufactured vehicle at the right price might be a challenge...

Richmond Prog 1980.jpg

Also noted was the ticket allotment for Twickenham matches, with stand seats available at £1.10.0 (£1.50) and standing at five bob (25p) and up. Different days indeed, as this included an Australia international as well as Ireland, Scotland and France games.

The game finished with a 9-6 win for Cov (Scorers unknown at this time)


Next up, a 13-6 win for Cov on December 6th 1980, with tries from Maisey and Clifford, and one conversion and a penalty from Steve Thomas (who also failed with three penalty and and one conversion attempts!). The glory days of '73 and '74 were now well in the past, yet Cov were still formidable opposition. Club President Peter Rossborough was listed at full-back, with the threes including Will Maisey's uncle Simon, and Dave Foulks - an u15s international while attending Woodlands School in, if memory serves, 1969. Apologies if I'm a year out with that. I only ever played against David in inter-house games (we were in the same year), and having done that, you'd never forget what a tough opponent he was!

Others to appear included Steve Thomas, Steve Brain, Steve Wilkes, Rob Fardoe, Nirmal (Mal) Malik, and a certain Graham Robbins (among others of course).

Richmond Prog 1966.jpg

Yes, they were still a top side, although not having their best season by their own very high standards, and currently lay sixth in the Midland Merit table on only 43.75% (but well clear of seventh-placed Northampton on 25%).

'Club Notes' include mention of the aforementioned Robbins' selection to the upcoming Midlands side, along with Brainy and Thommo who were to bench. Barry Ninnes enforced retirement gets a mention, as does Paul Knee's extended absence due to cartilage work. With a name like that, I guess it was almost inevitable at some point! On that tack, the notes bemoan the fact that injuries had hit the squad very heavily thus far, hampering continuity of selections, and contributing to the below-par season. Supporters' Club notes include mention of David Duckham's autobiograph 'Dai For England', with signed copies available for £6.95).

Oh, and 'Your Programme Editor' was listed as a certain John Butler, Press & Publicity Officer. 


The final programme is dated 4th December 1982, with Cov running out 23-4 to the good.

Marcus Rose and Huw Davies feature this time (Davies was away with Cambridge for the 1980 fixture), with Rosey moving to the left wing, and with Maisey on the opposite flank. Thommo was still holding down the scrum-half berth, with Wilkes still propping, alongside Lee Johnson at loosehead this time. Rob Fardoe and Brian Kidner made up the engine room, with Paul Thomas, Robbins, and Malik in the back row. Paul Knee had recovered, and was on the bench.

Programme notes allude to a decent run of results, with reversals coming only at the hands of Bath (A), Newport (A), and Leicester by a narrow 12-14 margin at Coundon Road.

In the Merit table, Cov had by now pinned down second place on 87.5% from eight games, but with little chance of dislodging Tigers at the top on a very impressive 100% from six games. Mose followed Cov on four wins from six, with Bedford on 50% (six matches). Rugby Lions, once again, were rooted to the bottom on 0 from four matches.

Richmond Prog 1982.jpg

On a slightly different subject, there was an appeal for donations of trees from John Gardiner. Maybe that sounds a little odd, but John had been doing sterling work in landscaping the Coundon Road ground, and was looking for donations to allow him to plant them around the perimeter, in an attempt to improve the views from inside and outside the ground!

Once again, JB was the man with the pen for this one.

That's it for this week, but I'm hoping to make this a fairly regular feature if possible, and intend to start digging out more old progs from the store, if I indeed have any. With that in mind, if anyone has old copies I could beg (just a PDF or even JPGs would suffice if you don't wish to lose them) I'd be most grateful. Please PM me. Thanks.

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Unofficial Coventry Rugby
Ghosts of Richmond Past
Unofficial Coventry Rugby (IP Logged)
01/03/2019 14:21
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:03:05:10:54:58 by AdminBTCov.

John Butler
Re: Ghosts of Richmond Past
John Butler (IP Logged)
01/03/2019 14:27
Before anyone goes our and orders a car...Ö. as Secretary of the Supporters Club at the time, I can confirm it proved to be a financial flop, sad though that was

Re: Ghosts of Richmond Past
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
01/03/2019 14:34
I know it was John. Good effort though!

Re: Ghosts of Richmond Past
diverkevod (IP Logged)
01/03/2019 17:48
A very enjoyable reflection on the past which brought a lot of memories flooding back..... of warm and cold afternoons stood on the Cowshed side watching some of the best players in the country. Probyn and Ralston are two Richmond names that appear, players with illustrious pasts, not that I'm ignoring all the Cov names. Let's hope tomorrow lives up to expectations.... mine at least for a good win and no hanging on at the end I hope !

Re: Ghosts of Richmond Past
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
01/03/2019 18:46
I'll drink to that Kev!

Re: Ghosts of Richmond Past
OldNick (IP Logged)
01/03/2019 22:10
Excellent piece. Itís from before my time in Coventry, but helps place various names Ive met orgeard if into a relative context. Thanks.

Re: Ghosts of Richmond Past
HoboAl (IP Logged)
02/03/2019 09:33
Plenty of history behind these clubs and I am looking forward to a good game. Always a tough fixture.

Re: Ghosts of Richmond Past
tomthepom (IP Logged)
04/03/2019 10:22
I love these 'look-back' features, some great names from the past...

Impressive longevity from Richmond's Chris Ralston to bridge the gap between 1966 & 1980. Also note the prop Probyn - I believe Jeff Probyn altho' listed as 'G Probyn' in 1980. And Nick Preston - Richmond & England centre who was RFC President a couple of years ago.

When did the numbering system change so that full-backs wore 15 rather than 1?

Re: Ghosts of Richmond Past
AdminBTCov (IP Logged)
04/03/2019 12:29
1967I think Tom ( although I reckon it had been pretty well standardized a few years earlier).
I intend to do a follow-up for the Nottingham game, then a few more next season, I hope!

Edit. Having now had chance to dig back into programmes, we appear to still be using 1 for the full- back until around 73/74. Perhaps it was Internationals that switched in '67? Not absolutely sure tbh.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2019:03:04:15:05:41 by AdminBTCov.

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