Tour report by Mike Williams.
The buffalo head on the wall of the main Clubhouse was not pinched but won on the Club’s 1962 Easter Tour to the west country with the victory over Plymouth Argaum-- hence it being called the Argaumsoraus. The tour was arranged & managed very efficiently by Club Secretary John Reed with fixtures against Plymouth Argaum, Salcombe & I think Exmouth, with all games being won.
The Ealing touring party was made up of mainly 1st xv & 2nd xv players with a few 3rd xv players. It included four players who a few years earlier had some experience of first class rugby - George Pym had regularly played for London Welsh & county rugby for Notts, Lincs & Derby Grant Brendon, Mike Williams, & Doug Barge had had the odd game for Wasps, Blackheath, & Streatham & Croydon which was a good club in those days.
I can remember little of the actual matches but do remember that after winning the "Argaumsorous" it was a lively night at their clubhouse & when we went to leave we found our coach filled with bales of straw/hay (their ground was in a rural area of Plymouth) & it took us ages to clear before we could leave.
We stayed at the Sefton Hotel (refurbished and renamed The Babbacombe Hotel in 2015) which was very pleasant & was situated on the clifftops at Babbacombe on the outskirts of Torquay. We had noticed in Torquay that the splendid Imperial Hotel had an outdoor swimming pool in its grounds & very late one night several members thought a "skinny dip" there would be good fun. Unfortunately the noise made alerted staff who came to investigate & this resulted in the hilarious spectacle of the Ealing members quickly grabbing their clothes & making a very hasty exit in the nude!
Another late night incident involved several club members making down the cliffs from the hotel to the beach below where a small fleet of primitive wooden pedaloes were being kept for hire. It did not take long before a few were being used to race in the sea. Having tired of this they were put back in their original positions, but one was kept as a trophy & manhandled back up the cliff & eventually put on the coach back to our clubhouse where it stayed on the wall for some time, although I do remember on one or two boisterous nights it was tested in the Grand Union Canal which ran close to the Club
One other incident I remember involved John Reed. On the day off from playing, members were in the hotel bar that night & John asked for some cigars for his group of four or five sitting at the bar & something like Castellos were offered--these were fairly cheap everyday smoking cigars. A few hours & pints later John asked the landlord "Could we please have some more cigars & have you got some decent ones this time". The landlord gave John a look & reached the back of the bar & produced a lovely wooden humidified cigar box containing several different sized cigars. John’s face lit up & he picked four or five largish cigars exclaiming this was more like it. However, when coming to pay his face changed colour & he coughed & spluttered as these were the most expensive cigars & cost an arm & a leg, but having asked for decent cigars felt obliged not to back down & paid up. In fairness to John after the initial shock had worn off he did see the funny side of the incident.
Date approximate based on Easter 1962.
In addition Steve Barnes, past President at Plymouth Argaum, wrote to let us know that their website has two mentions of Ealing in the 1960s. One reference HERE, refers a game at Ealing in 1961 “on a pitch resembling a marsh” which is a pretty fair description for the time, and a second reference is to this tour game in 1962.
After the 1962 tour the Argaumsoras was put in a pride of place location in the Berkeley Fields clubhouse. Many years later It was seized by tourists Cobh Pirates RFC and spirited away to their club house across the Irish Sea. Subsequently a party of enterprising Exiles, after making their regular appearance in the nearby Kinsale Rugby 7s Festival, recaptured the trophy and returned it to the new clubhouse at Vallis Way where is still proudly sits fifteen feet above the floor, securely affixed to the wall.
Argaumsoras is fiendishly difficult to pronounce and spell. Alternative spellings include Argaumasoras, Argamosoras, Argaumasaurus, Argaumasauros.
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