Unbeaten 1962 1st XV reunites after 55 years
At the OP Centenary Dinner on April 21st, 2017 12 members of the unbeaten 1st XV in 1962 reunited for the first time in 55 years.
Shown in the image above are:
Back row: David Hamner, James Neale, Roddy Adams, Shaun Maynard, Julian Coles, Chas Realf, Andy Shanks.
Front row: Bob Roberts, Mike Ramsden, Roger Lane-Nott, Less Byrne, Robert Wingate.
One member of the team, the “tower of strength” No. 8 G.F.M. Thomas, was in Kenya and unable to attend. Openside wing forward C. Race has died. And one, the “reliable” full back A.A. Wilson, could not be traced.
The reunion was organised by the speedy left wing Bob Roberts who, along with flyhalf Les Byrne, later played for the England Under-19 XV. The current Chairman of the Governors at the College and the hooker and captain of the 1962 side Roger Lane-Nott enthusiastically supported the initiative. Prop Julian Coles had traveled from the USA, second rower Shaun Maynard from South Africa, blindside wing forward MIke Ramsden from India and scrum half Andy Shanks from Spain. On the day after the dinner, the team reconvened in The Swan pub in the village to lunch with its coach Lionel Stephens.
Steve later wrote: “The lunch at The Swan was, for me, a very emotional occasion. The OP who initiated this was Bob Roberts who took three months to trace the team. I had met since they left only four. The others were totally unrecognisable. At the end I was given a lovely card and a 1st XV rugby shirt with all their names on it…It was one of the most moving occasions of my life.”
Bob Roberts added: “What a magical weekend, like a fairy tale. I keep expecting to wake up and find it was a wonderful dream, was it really real? As Mike Ramsden said ’55 years transformed itself, seeming like just yesterday, a Sci-Fi Back to the Future.’ Every one of us took a leap of faith to make the journey, some at considerable expense and family inconvenience. Wow, did it exceed expectations. A memory of a lifetime!”