The enthusiasm and determination with which the 1st XV has played and practised has been defeated by their psychological inability to win, as the record, which is here hastily passed over, would show. With what is now a very respectable fixture list, the opposition has proved tough, but the team has greatly improved in technique, and could it but have found that extra bit of confidence and thrust, instead of playing slightly worse than their opponents whatever standard these had attained, they might have won many of the games they actually lost.
XX Browne, A Oxley, J V Rooks, C Twyford, J Kaye, Dan Helliwell,
D G Milne, Alan Lambert, W A F Wright, K Mallett, N G Wellings, Gareth Beynon,
D T Protheroe, Mr N L Clapton, W D Cousin (capt), Mr D B Harrison, John Miller.
Photo + Names courtesy of John Miller
The forwards have developed into quite a good pack but their line-out work could be improved and their heeling speeded up. Their tackling in the open is better, though the close defence round the scrum is weak. Slow heeling makes it difficult for the rather unpractised half-backs and is holding up the threequarter line. The backs have been disappointing, the main strength lying in the wings who rarely see the ball. The centre has been the main trouble, for quite apart from thrust and penetration there has sometimes been poor handling. Lack of practice has denied us that co-ordinated sweep of the whole line from Out Half to Wing which should be possible in school rugby. Defence here has also been weak, mainly through lack of confidence and only some sound play at full-back has saved us from further ignominy.
The Colts side is quite promising and with a welcome increase in the numbers of those playing on Wednesdays it is hoped that next year's team will be even better than this year's despite the large number of leavers.
This season has seen a further improvement in the standard of play, and thanks are due to Mr. Harrison for the work he has done in this respect. The record of the 1st XV has been most disappointing, made even more so by the fact that at least five matches would have been won if we had had a little more luck, and had not been offside so often. Special attention should be paid to the offside laws next year.
In the 1st XV the forwards have generally played very well, and it has been encouraging to see the improvement in line-out play ; lack of practice has denied the backs the advantages of quick heeling. One match was lost because of slackness, after an 8-3 lead ; only experience will rectify this sort of thing.
The backs, after a very poor start, have improved, but owing to constant changing of positions and players no real understanding has been achieved.
The Colts XV has also been playing regularly and shows distinct promise for the future. With the First and Second Forms also playing, there is now a solid nucleus of players in the School, and in a few years the 1st XV should be able to play against most schools.