Over the years, ‘Phones have had a history of picking up players from here there and everywhere. When we played at the Civil Service Ground, we picked up the barman from the Old Fox where we drank on a Saturday Evening, and the fruit and veg man from the shop where we got the half time oranges…whatever happened to that tradition? We even had the Clerk of Works in charge of building the new club house after the fire at Stockwood turn out for us.
So how did I myself come to be a member of the ‘Phones, and find myself 30 years later, elevated to the lofty position of BTA RFC Chairman?
I started my combination career as a 20 year old ball playing No.8, with the most outrageous dummy in Bristol (in my opinion) at Imperial RFC. A natural progression as I had played cricket at that club since I was 11.
Two seasons later, on starting work for The Post Office as BT was then a part of, I naturally fancied some midweek time off to play for the company. A call to the contact in the internal phone book was made, and somehow Tony Powell (the smoothest man to ever represent the ‘phones) had talked me into attending the pre-season trials.
Despite traveling to the trial against Kingswood in Bernie’s old yellow beetle along with 19 stone Greg Joel, and despite sitting next to Les Sanigar between sessions, I somehow put myself up for selection, and found myself at No. 8 for the seconds against the now disbanded Old Cathedralians in the first game of the season…which we won 15-3.
Of course, it was the after match mayhem that really reeled me in…those were the days when I didn’t take my gin and bitter lemon through a syringe. I was well and truly hooked!
The intervening 35 years have seen me;
skipper the seconds…we won four games that season, but boy did we have some fun.
Do a season as Team sec. before mobiles and when I didn’t have a ‘phone at home….Thursdays and Fridays spent in a call box with a bag of 2p pieces.
Spend 7 years as Hon Sec. the minutes were always done well in advance, even though they had to be done on a typewriter….anyone remember those?
1 season only as Social Sec. ….that might have had something to do with drawing the raffle at the Xmas disco before we had sold any tickets, and starting to drink the prizes!
I could do a Garfield, and go on and on….but the most important thing is that it was all fun, an absolute ball. Once the ‘Phones get under your skin, they are there for life in a way that few other clubs can claim to do. I went to watch Bouncer make his debut for Worcester Wanderers last weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but the feeling of walking back into the ‘phones later on that night you can’t buy.