KBGS Old Boys' Forum

A place to discuss Keighley Boys' Grammar School. 

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KBGS Old Boys' Forum
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KBGS "on Tour"

England RU World Cup woes and the KBGS Precursor

That the England squad in Kiwiland for the 2011 Webb Ellis Trophy should show such a propensity for fun and frolics is no novelty. Even without drink, KBGS senior teams travelling for away fixtures added a touch of frivolity which they purveyed to the junior teams. Colts with 1stXV; Under 14s and Seconds travelled together. Well not exactly: the big boys hogged the back seats and were loud from the moment the bus (usually a Bronte) hit Alice Street. We juniors sat in the front chancing glances to the rear to see which of the Prefects were letting the Establishment down – the equivalent of a kiss for the royal bald pate.

On the out journey, the songs were quite restrained – a bit boy scout style. For the benefit of the driver, they sang “You’ll never get to heaven in a Bronte ‘bus; for a Bronte ‘bus you’ll have to push.” I can see him now – I think he was a Methodist local preacher. Another verse was to substitute “Bronte ‘bus” with Gilbert’s car which “car”“won’t get that far”. Sitting at the front of the bus with his junior team colleague / coach, (Frank or Edgar) like a stoical Martin Johnson, Gilbert would chatter ignoring the “lads” at the back.

Whatever the results of the match, buoyed up on weak tea and sandwiches, the singing resumed on the return journey – but more in the style of dwarf hurling – ie not PC. The depths of depravity was the singing of “Oh Sir Jasper do not touch me”. I can hear now Belton, Harris and co in perfect discord shorten the title line each verse a word at a time concluding with “Oh!” which exclamation left me in the depths of confusion and total misunderstanding. “Martin Johnson” (Gilbert) and his team, which sometimes included Johnnie Smith, Head of Riddlesden Primary school, who seemed to wangle Wednesday afternoons off, conversed unmoved.

But the real “tour match” was the away fixture versus Blackpool Grammar. Gilbert had been on the staff there and he had arranged the annual home and away fixtures. Lads who were possible selections for 1st and 2nd XVs would train and endeavour to be selected for the away Blackpool match – in October and while the “loominations” were still up. Some would lose interest after the away match and dropped off training when the fog and frost descended.

The Blackpool trip went like this: teams; reserves; linesmen and staff foregathered in Lord Street around 0900 on a Saturday morning. Some had pack-up for lunch. All the hopefuls had their kit. The journey was quiet but excited as groups of ‘similars’ planned how they would spend the “free time”. The free time before the game was spent patrolling the prom and consuming a “light lunch” whilst sussing out the ‘entertainment’ (youth-friendly pubs) for the post match events.

Back on the bus to the school and changing and getting psyched up for the real purpose of the day, the match. We never lost to Blackpool 1958-60 – 1st or 2nds.

After the match, we were always entertained with a cooked meal which went down well. There were speeches by staff whose relevance we did not understand. We had our minds on the short time between then and ETD.

We went up with our similars to the Golden Mile and soaked in the exotic panoply of the loominations and trippers’ ale sold to any youth who dare approach the bar. We all met the deadline for meeting the bus home and left safely.

The journey home was usually quite riotous with “Martin” occasionally walking to the year of the bus to quieten some of the more exuberants. But the noise continued all the way home. When we got back, we thought “that was that” but we thowt wrong.

One year “Martin” had us all in the Gym in the dinner hour the week after the trip and proceeded to ask what we knew about boys being drunk and disorderly after the match. Word had come down from Chief Exec at HQ (office overlooking The Regent) who was on the same grapevine as an elder of the conventicle to whom a sprog had blabbed a wholly defammatory “red top” type account of the lads on tour.

“Martin” was clearly embarrassed. He said the alleged misbehaviour had escaped his notice although he had observed that the bus had been vacated by most of the party at a comfort stop before we had reached Preston.I think he gave Martin Johnson the line - "Rugby players on tour - what do you expect?"

BUT nobody had jumped off the Tower; missed the bus; engaged the fuzz; yet thereafter school blazers were de rigueur for away matches. I wonder what Martin’s successor, the new England coach, will do about the Paris Match (Ahem) at the Stade in 2012.

Years at KBGS e.g. 1958-1964 (optional) 1952-60

Current location (optional) Nirvana