Fa­mous 1962 vic­tory re­lived at re­union


Although they might not be as mo­bile as they were on the rugby field 55 years ago you could not take the sparkle out of the eyes of the sur­viv­ing mem­bers of the 1962 Thames Val­ley rugby team who held a re­union last Satur­day.

This was the fa­mous team that de­feated Aus­tralia 16-14 de­spite hav­ing to play most of the game with 14 men.

Sports writer Phil Gif­ford was a spe­cial guest as he was present at the game and he ar­tic­u­lated in glow­ing terms about his boy­hood heroes.

Full­back Terry Shaw was the butt of much hu­mour about his wob­bly drop kick which won the match but he spoke fondly about the team’s cap­tain the late Kevin Barry.

Liam Barry re­sponded on be­half of his fa­ther and left ev­ery­one in no doubt that this game was one of Kevin’s very spe­cial mem­o­ries.

Winger, Ray Wells paid a fit­ting trib­ute to the late Ron Kerby and then ad­mit­ted that per­haps he didn’t mind be­ing tack­led by three Aussies at once as it left the open­ing for the cen­tre Trevor Kilpin to score his try.

Bill Walsh, Alan Wilkin­son and Maru Rangi – the quiet men of the team said lit­tle and just en­joyed be­ing in the com­pany of their team mates.

There was much repar­tee be­tween the two ‘‘hard cases’’ of the team the loose for­wards Doug Mold and Garry Hig­gins which caused great amuse­ment.

The lock for­ward. Jim Dar­rah (now the fa­ther fig­ure of the team) looked fit enough to still be able to demon­strate his li­ne­out skills.

He ac­knowl­edged ab­sent friends with spe­cial men­tion of the late Rex Holden (prop) and Jim Mita (wing).

Hooker, Andy Townsend high­lighted the fact that this Aus­tralian team were no mugs as it con­tained 10 play­ers who played in the test four days later.

Prop for­ward Jim Maxwell, the baby of the team, is still won­der­ing where his team mates were when he scored his try as he is only sur­rounded by Aussies in an his­toric photo.

Doug Brown and Ian Jenk­ins, re­serves on the day spoke of their dis­ap­point­ment at not be­ing able to get on to the field be­cause of the no re­place­ment rule.

Trevor Kilpin and Phil Gif­ford did a great job of keep­ing the nar­ra­tive mov­ing, un­der the watch­ful eye of the 93-year-old coach, Norm McMil­lan.

Most of the team man­aged to at­tend the Heartland match later in the day, and they were proud of the spirit and com­mit­ment shown by Thames Val­ley against the power house Wan­ganui rugby team.


NZ Her­ald news­pa­per clip­ping re­port­ing on the Thames Val­ley rugby team’s win over Aus­tralia on Septem­ber, 19, 1962.

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