Chris Whitfield won his first team cap in the centenary season. For this special season the cap peak was a different format from those in other seasons, as can be seen on Chris' cap which he has generously donated to the The Club for safe keeping. As part of the handover we asked Chris to share a few memories from this significant season and his time after leaving Ealing.
The centenary season was an exceptional season. We won every match bar one, where we lost to Guildford and Godalming away. Jim Bird was captain at the time. It was a great season and I had a wonderful four years with Ealing.
We also had a mid-week celebratory centenary match against Harlequins which was refereed by Johnny Johnson. Hiller was full back but I will never forget the fact that the England scrum half, Nigel Starmer- Smith was supposed to play but he couldn't be bothered to turn up. That did not go down well with our team. I think you have a photo of that in your archives.
At the end of that season, I moved away to teach in Letchworth, Hertfordshire but we bought our first house further north and I joined Biggleswade. I think I arranged for Ealing to come to Biggleswade to play us and after the match I was presented with this cap by the Ealing captain.
Memories are a little hazy but I think I joined Ealing when I left St Mary's College, Twickenham in 1968 and I played for Ealing 1st Team for 4 seasons from 1968-1972 before moving north.
I got married in July 1971, on the day the Lions beat the All Blacks in New Zealand, and Jim Bird and Dave Young came down to Leigh Park in Havant for the Wedding. Julia and I celebrated our Golden Wedding Anniversary last year in July 2021.
Six Years later, I moved up to Chester to be Deputy Head at the Catholic High School in Chester, where I stayed for three years before coming down here to be Head of a large catholic comprehensive school in Waterlooville. While in Chester, I played for the Vets team there which was a whole different ball game as we played a number of teams who were in rugby League territory. They would never get away now. with the sort of tackles that went on there at that time.
I remember one incredible Sunday in Chester when I was at home with the family and we had just had a huge Sunday lunch and I got a call from the captain of the 1st team asking me if I could help him and come and play in a cup match as their two fly halves had both been injured. I had already played the day before but I couldn't refuse. They sent a car for me and so I played fly half for the 1st team and we won by at least 15 points, sealing it with a drop goal. I scored a try or rather the scrum and I scored a try. I sidestepped and went inside and got stopped about 5 metres from the line but the scrum came up behind me, lifted me up and pushed me over and dumped me over the try line. I got given man of the match award and I held the trophy proudly for a week.
I didn't expect to be picked again and I am relieved to say I wasn't. But they were fond memories.
I was always no 14 (right wing) at Ealing. Dave Raynor was the excellent fly-half and could have gone much further if he had wanted to. My fly-half exploits came later with Biggleswade and Chester.
Incidentally, when you next go into a supermarket, have a look at the healthy chewy bars etc and you will see the name Jordans quite prominent. He was great supporter of Biggleswade and when we played at home he used to regularly get in his plane and fly over our pitch in the middle of a match and he would dive bomb us just for fun. Just another funny memory.
See all 4 Events
See all 3 Places