It is with deep regret that we announce the death of one of our former Chairman, and one of the early members of Old Longtonian RUFC, Bernard “Bunny” Hallam, who died peacefully at his home in Dalton, Lancashire on November 18th.
Bernard will be remembered as a tough, nuggety character who stood no nonsense, ruling Committee meetings with a rod of iron. He brought his business acumen as a senior executive with the Mercantile Credit Company to the Club. Nevertheless, he had a wicked sense of humour. Bernard’s wife, Iris, was a founder member of the Ladies’ Committee and together they were a combined tower of strength with never a thought of failure. Bernard’s name still lives on today with the annual awarding of the trophy in his name to the Clubman of the Year.
Older members recall some of the stories from those early years.
Longton produced a performance full of fire, energy, passion and control to record a comprehensive 22-10 victory over much fancied Old Halesonians.
Despite starting brightly and looking dangerous with ball in hand, Hales were unable to cope with Longton’s intensity, swarming defence and solid set pieces.
After last weeks heavy defeat at Nuneaton, Longton were forced into team changes as no recognised second rows were available, leading back rowers Joel Booth and Kieran Healey to man the engine room, with flanker Joe Clowes moving to number 8 and amazingly, hookers George Glenn and Christian Prince taking the flanker berths. Scrum half Eddie Askew replaced injury victim Chris Moors and Luke Fowles made a welcome return to the full back shirt.
Hales began with purposeful intent but Longton’s defence remained strong, winning turnovers and penalties with their aggressive contesting of the breakdown and strong scrummaging. This pressure created 2 opportunities for Grant Hallam but both penalties were wide leaving the scores level as the game passed 20 minutes.
The Longton lineout functioned well on their own ball, despite the lack of recognised second rowers, and from a lineout take inside the Hales 22 a powerful juggernaut of a maul was set up and it moved inexorably towards the visitors line ending with George Glenn being walked over the line for the opening score. Grant Hallam added the extras and Longton deservedly led 7-0.
Longton RUFC club legend Mick Wheat will spend tomorrow afternoon in the company of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.
The prestigious invitation is to acknowledge a lifetime’s service to rugby, and in particular to Longton RUFC.
An original Old Longtonian, Mick joined the club directly from Longton High School at the beginning of the 1960’s and has now clocked up over 50 years service to the club, seeing it develop from changing in pubs and playing in farmers fields, to the state of the art facilities that the club enjoys today.
During half a centuries service Mick has filled virtually every single position in the club including captain, coach, president, chairman, junior manager, publicity secretary, commercial manager and has been one of the key figures behind two ground moves for the club.
In addition, sons Tony and Rob both represented the club over the last 20 or so years, clocking up league titles and Staffordshire Cup triumphs along the way.
Long suffering wife Rose has had to put up with 2 generations of rugby men and also fully deserves a posh day out at the Palace!
From everyone at the club we’d like to wish Mick a fantastic day and thank him for his unstinting loyalty to Longton RUFC.
Longton v Newport © The Sentinel
We’ve reached that time of year where the champions are poised to be crowned and the relegation battle is getting tighter.
Victory at relegation-threatened Sandbach will confirm Broadstreet as National 3 Midlands champions with two games to spare. After a mixed start, nobody can argue that they haven’t been the most consistent, durable and ultimately deserving champions this season, so congratulations to them.
The runner up slot appears to be in Sutton Coldfield’s hands with a 6 point gap to their nearest rivals and games against Bedford Athletic and Syston to come. They do have considerable injury issues in the front row though which may hamper them in the coming weeks.
My playing career started in September 1973 after I was introduced into the then “Old Longtonian Rugby Club” by Colin Broome, a teacher at my school. I played for the club from 1973 until early 1988, mainly on the wing for the first 13 years and then moved into the second row. Although I no longer played for the club, I was still actively involved until the early 1990’s mainly on bar duty.
We lived in the Stoke on Trent/Newcastle Under Lyme area until 1999 when we moved to Rugby due to my work being based there. I worked out of the Rugby office until the spring of 2007, when I moved with Lynda to Danville PA, USA on a 3 year contract managing the Pyroprocessing Global aftermarket.
Wow 25 years since I last pulled on my boots in a competitive rugby match!
I am still proudly married to Sharon, and have two fantastic daughters, now 25 and 19, and a gorgeous 1 year old granddaughter. I am still very competitive, with a golf handicap of 18, but must admit to have not played much this year, joining a local golf club is a high priority. I have started my own gardening business which should grow quickly this year.
Longton hope to finally resume their season following 2 postponements and face a stern test against leaders Broadstreet. The 2 clubs have contested a number of memorable battles over the years with honours reasonably even.
However, Broadstreet emerged with a comprehensive 37-14 victory although there were only 4 points in it after three quarters of the game. That they did so is testimony to their fitness and determination and as recently as their last game, an impressive 37-9 victory at Hinckley, the majority of points were scored in the final quarter.
Longton will be looking to stay in the game for the full 80 minutes, but know that they will have to maintain their focus and hopefully benefit from the couple of weeks enforced rest that they’ve had.
The jewel in the crown of Northern Hemisphere rugby, the Six Nations Championship, begins tomorrow, as the competing nations continue to hone their preparations for the 2015 World Cup.
The coaches will be seeking to try new combinations for possibly the last time, before attempting to firm up their preferred teams over the final 12 months of preparations for the tournament that begins in England in September 2015.
All 6 of the nations come into the tournament with varying degrees of optimism, but the fierce competition spread over 5 weekends during the next 2 months will see who is really in a strong position and who has a lot of work to do over the coming 18 months.
Let’s take a look at each of the competing nations, examining their strengths and weaknesses, players to look out for and some potential new stars, beginning with last seasons winners, Wales.
Longton welcome Birmingham University based, Bournville RFC to Trentham Fields for an important mid table clash.
‘The Chocolate Men’ are currently one place and 2 points better off than Longton, but a home win see us overtake them in the increasingly tight National 3 Midlands table.
Bournville enjoyed an excellent start to the season, being one of the early pace setter with some notable victories over the likes of Hinckley and Broadstreet, but more recently things have tailed off and they have suffered 9 defeats in their last 11 outings.
Longton Ladies have a new captain to start 2014 and she is Lesley Thompson who first joined the Club in December 2012. Lesley has been playing rugby for 16 years. Originally from Kent, she started playing for the Medway club and while there she represented Kent County at U16 and U18 levels and then went on to play for South East England at both age groups. As a 17 year old, Lesley had an England trial as a flanker but then moved to play fly half where she took on the kicking duties.
In 2007 she had to have full knee reconstruction which coincided with a move to Staffordshire. Lesley now has a family but the need for rugby in her life was always in the back of her mind. Finding Longton Ladies and taking on the number 8 role in the team has brought the love of rugby back in her life but not just her own life; her 4 year old daughter, Rebecca, and stepson, Alex, are currently members of the mini-section at Longton.