Paying tribute to former players

On Saturday there will be the annual Players Reunion in the Clubhouse on the occasion of the top of the table Fylde v Chester match. We’ll be delighted to welcome former players of all generations and levels. If you haven’t already done so, call the Club Office (01253 734733) if you wish to attend. So what better time then to look into the Archives to pay tribute to former players from a very different age.

As part of our research to prepare for the Club’s Centenary celebrations in the 2019-20 season, we had an excellent recent meeting with David Taylor, a former mainstay of the Fylde pack for more than a decade from 1959. He has lent us a superb two volume collection of press cuttings which record his rugby career from a Rossall Schoolboy, representative honours with England Schools, Fylde 1st XV (including being captain in 1967-68) and Lancashire County appearances, and many caps, home and overseas, with the North West’s invitational team, the Anti-Assassins. He played mainly in the back row but also frequently at lock.

David went on to have a successful career as a local solicitor and has great affection for his time playing for the Club. “Those 10 to 15 years were some of the happiest times of my life” he said.

Here is a team photo taken in 1967 including several players who have gone on to be stalwarts of the Club up to today.

Back row: Bill Hilton, Stan Purdy, Brian Beadle, Mel Whittle, Mike Hindle, John Redmayne, Rodney Hoskisson, Terry Horrocks.

Front row: Keith Thomas, David Taylor, Malcolm Phillips, Tony Richards, Sammy Clitheroe, Ian Hargreaves, Bill Baxter.

Very sadly, many of the Club’s archives haven’t survived so we have very little information on the number of games played by individual players before the late 1970s. David has helped us for this generation of players and has researched people’s memories to come up with estimates for some:

Bill Baxter                                         500

Rodney Hoskisson                           370

Jack Quarmby                                   312

David Taylor                                     310

Mike Hindle                                      300

David Hamilton                                260

Terry Horrocks                                 255

This is a brilliant record of commitment at a time long before the days of professionalism. David Taylor recalled these days affectionally and said that the Club was also the heart of social life in the town, spurred on by a very active Ladies Committee. The world has changed greatly in the past 50 years but that central place in the local community remains our aspiration, on and off the pitch. Thank you, everyone who has played for Fylde RFC!

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