Old Bloxhamists celebrate 100 Years of Rugby
On Saturday we held a celebratory dinner to mark 100 years of Rugby at Bloxham School. We were thrilled to welcome Old Bloxhamists and current and former members of staff back to the school, some for the first time since leaving.
Headmaster Paul Sanderson gave a welcome address and spoke about his great pleasure in welcoming guests and former Bloxham School players spanning seven decades to celebrate this sporting milestone. He continued to say how the sport of rugby has flourished at Bloxham since its inception in 1920 and been enjoyed by thousands of students. Particular mention was given to the unbeaten sides of 1947, 1989 and last year’s 1st XV, winners of the National Plate.
Guests then heard from the school’s Director of Rugby, Andy Goldsmith, who spoke about his passion for rugby and the power that the game has to bring people of all generations together and to cement life-long friendships. He encouraged guests to share memories of their playing days, tries scored and tackles made!
Grace was said by Old Bloxhamist Toby Staveley Parker, School Captain from 2019, and guests then enjoyed a delicious three course meal followed by port and cheese.
The evening’s after dinner speaker was School Historian and 1st XV Coach, Simon Batten. Simon spoke about the school’s first foray into the sport of rugby in 1920 and explained how it took a few years but by 1924 The Bloxhamist reported: “The school was really keen on the game, and no one wanted to go back to soccer. In his opinion, the Headmaster said, Rugger was the better game – better for the prestige of the school in these days, and for the formation of character.” During his speech, Simon made reference to the fact that in the last 37 years there have only been three directors of rugby – Ian George, John Horton and Andy Goldsmith and that this continuity had led to the success of many generations of the school’s rugby players. Simon also spoke about the many successful teams, tours around the world and of the hundreds of fixtures, as well as his familiarity with many Accident & Emergency units across the Midlands and South East of England!
In the school’s wood panelled Dining Hall, the room came to life with laughter and the rekindling of friendships and new acquaintances which carried on late into the evening.