Reunion: Do you know anyone who played rugby for Doncaster Grammar School (Hall Cross) in 1967/68?

Doncaster Grammar School rugby first XV 1967/8: Front row (l-r): Stuart Taylor, Mick Woodley, Terry Hudson, David Gibson (capt), Mick Germer, Cass Grey, Paul Linney. Back row (l-r): Mick Hobson, Dave Clarson, Slim Bettington, Pete Parkinson, John Stray, John Ash, John Blount, Tom Hird, Keith Pacey.
Doncaster Grammar School rugby first XV 1967/8: Front row (l-r): Stuart Taylor, Mick Woodley, Terry Hudson, David Gibson (capt), Mick Germer, Cass Grey, Paul Linney. Back row (l-r): Mick Hobson, Dave Clarson, Slim Bettington, Pete Parkinson, John Stray, John Ash, John Blount, Tom Hird, Keith Pacey.

Hall Cross Academy was a very different place in 1968.

It was then called Doncaster Grammar School and was a selective grammar school for boys with a long tradition stretching all the way back to 1350.

Tour party to the Wirral: Front row (l-r): Dave Wright, Paul Linney, Slim Bettington, Andrew Harvey, Mick Woodley, Keith Pacey. Middle row (l-r): Dave Clarson, Stuart Taylor, Terry Hudson, Dave Gibson (capt), Mick Germer, Cass Grey, John Ash, Tony Davison. Back row (l-r): Mr HW Jones, Mr Ian Gibson, John Blount, John Stray, John Reader, Pete Parkinson, Tom Hird, Mr C Rhodes.

Tour party to the Wirral: Front row (l-r): Dave Wright, Paul Linney, Slim Bettington, Andrew Harvey, Mick Woodley, Keith Pacey. Middle row (l-r): Dave Clarson, Stuart Taylor, Terry Hudson, Dave Gibson (capt), Mick Germer, Cass Grey, John Ash, Tony Davison. Back row (l-r): Mr HW Jones, Mr Ian Gibson, John Blount, John Stray, John Reader, Pete Parkinson, Tom Hird, Mr C Rhodes.

It had a strong academic tradition, regularly sending boys to Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as other universities across the UK.

It also had a strong sporting tradition with cricket and rugby union foremost among them, although basketball produced strong teams and hockey was starting to become significant.

The school had good sporting facilities with two squash courts and its own swimming pool on site.

Rugby really started to take off with the arrival of a new PE master, Ian Gibson, who had played for Yorkshire as captain alongside Sir Ian McGeechan of British Lions fame.

Gibson’s coaching transformed the fortunes of all the rugby teams at DGS, producing England schoolboy internationals and strong winning teams at all levels.

The 1st XV from the 1967/68 season really began this upsurge with good wins over local rivals Hemsworth Grammar School and Normanton Grammar School among others, the first time this had been achieved, and paving the way for further success in the years that followed.

Other highlights included the first ever rugby tour by the school with a trip to the Wirral in Cheshire, playing matches against Wirral Grammar School and Rock Ferry High School.

That team from 1967/8 were a strong unit and many of them have kept in touch over the years, meeting up regularly to reminisce and catch up. Two of the team even became teachers at the school.

It is 50 years since the team enjoyed such prolific success and the idea sprang up that it would be a good idea to hold a 50th Golden reunion this year. There has been a flurry of planning activity since before Christmas to make this happen.

Some of the team have sadly passed away and others have become incapacitated in some way, but most have responded positively to the idea and confirmed their intention to attend.

There are some team members who have proved difficult to contact. If anyone has any information about the whereabouts of any of the team please contact us and pass that on - thank you.

Some of the team continued to play rugby after leaving school, the most notable probably is Keith Pacey who played for Manchester University and then Broughton Park in Lancashire at a time when club and county rugby were pre-eminent forces in the organisation of rugby as a feeder system for the international teams.

Keith represented Lancashire and later Cheshire in the county championship and ultimately played for the North of England team in the 1970s.

He gets a mention in Brian Moore’s autobiography as the hardest opponent he’d faced in the scrum! Other members of that DGS team continued to play local rugby until time caught up with them and they retired gracefully.

DATE: Saturday, April 7, 2018

ITINERARY: Meet up at Hall Cross Academy, Doncaster, for a tour of the old school buildings. Join the Past Players’ Annual Lunch at Doncaster Rugby Club in Armthorpe and watch Championship match Doncaster Knights v Ealing Trailfinders. End the evening with a meal (and the odd drink) in Doncaster town centre.

GET IN TOUCH: If you know the whereabouts of Tony Davison, last seen in Southampton, David Gibson in London and David Clarson in Nottingham.

CONTACT DETAILS: stbarnby@icloud.com