Rugby 1st XV Tour

 Holland, 1973

Thanks to David Hughes for this cutting

Cutting text:
After two years of fund raising, a 20-strong 1st XV squad and two teachers from St. Nicholas Grammar School, Northwood enjoyed a ten day rugby tour of Holland.
Using a holiday camp in Southern Holland as a base camp, they played four matches against senior club sides as schools rugby does not exist in Holland.
The first match was against a Castricumse under-26 side and the school played very well to win 16-0 with Dave Hughes being chosen as man of the match.
Two days later the second match was played at Enschede, where the school met a physically strong but inexperienced side. Saints won 44-0 with skipper Roger Plowman the man of the match.
After a cancellation against Rotterdam students an extra fixture was arranged at Etten Leur. This was the biggest side the school met but they turned on a brilliant team display to win 62-0. Steve Papworth, who scored 22 points, was named man of the match.
The last match came the following day. Then St. Nicholas played Nymegen, a more experience side, and raised their game to win 51-8.
Huw Harding was named man of the match and later elected man of the tour for his fine attitude on and off the field.

Pictured above the St. Nicholas touring side.
Back row, from left: Mr. P. Gibson, M. Norris, T. Barwick, W. Lambert, D. Hughes, D. Warwick, B. Dunlop, J. Hall, P. Johnston, A. McClelland, S. Papworth, G. Pendred, Mr. N. Charlston.
Front row, from left: S. Moss, A. Foulkes, R. Plowman, B. Nash, H. Harding, J. O'Connell, M. Huddleston, D. Banks.

Important Note: From Denver, Colorado, Adrian Vroegindewey (aka "Vroeg") informs me he was also on this tour but was missing from the photo in the above cutting. Adrian has also sent me several magnificent photos including these two, showing his tour medal and other mementos of this tour and his time at the school.

Link to the 1972-73 1st XV team photo - Rugby 25

Thanks to Adrian Vroegindewey for these photos


By D. HUGHES (Captain), P. GIBSON (Master-in-charge)

After two years of fund raising, twenty senior boys, accompanied by Messrs. Charleston and Gibson, set off at Easter for a 10 day Rugby tour of Holland. We were based at a Holiday Camp at Hoogerheide in Southern Holland, living in chalets and converted caravans. Facilities at the camp were excellent, with a training pitch, horse-riding school, mini-golf and an indoor swimming pool. Several training sessions were organised on the camp during our stay and we think that the local people were amazed at this new breed of English tourist.

Our first match was against Castricumse R.F.C. in the North and necessitated a very tiring five hour drive. This was a Senior Club side, as were all our opponents. School rugby does not exist in Holland. The 'man of the match' award was won by D. Hughes for his strong forward play. By his example he showed our nervous schoolboy team that we could play just as hard as these grown men and with this realisation the seal was set for the rest of the tour.

Unfortunately, in this match Mark Norris, our guest from the U.S.A. tore ankle ligaments after only ten minutes and was unable to play for the rest of the tour. Mark Huddleston had a fine game and produced a try-saving tackle to keep our line intact, and Graham Pendred made a good debut in the first XV. Despite playing with only fourteen men, we won 16-0.

The next match was against an Enschede Student team whom we beat 44-0. Roger Plowman, the captain was chosen as 'man of the match' being the best of the three-quarters line. Barry Nash had a fine game and all the backs played extremely well. Dave Warwick, who has only recently started playing rugby, scored a fine try and after a shaky start the forwards played well as a unit. On Easter Saturday, we set out in a downpour for our match against Rotterdam and en route Mr. Gibson's car, with Mr. Charleston at the wheel, broke down and the party was separated. On being re-united we found the pitch waterlogged and the match cancelled. Our hosts, however, entertained us at their bar headquarters and took us for a Chinese meal. After an hour or so sight-seeing in Rotterdam we returned to camp.

Our next appearance was an exhibition match at the camp site on Easter Monday, scheduled to take place between displays by parachutists and a performance by Drum Majorettes. The large crowd of spectators seemed to appreciate our efforts and for most of them it was the first time they had watched a rugby match. We considered ourselves a great advertisement for the game of Rugby Football Next day we all went souvenir hunting at Bergen-op-Zoom before playing Etten-Leur in the evening. This match had not been scheduled but our would have been opponents at Rotterdam arranged this fixture instead. The match was played under floodlights on an almost grassless pitch with hardly any visible line markings. A fantastic performance by the team resulted in a 62-0 win, with Steve Papworth scoring 22 points and winning the title 'man of the match'. Everybody played well and consequently the after-match celebrations were of record proportions.

Our final match was against Nijmegen, who were our strongest opponents, but we gained victory by 51-8 after another fine team performance. Huw Harding was 'man of the match' and was later awarded the man of the tour cup. Unfortunately in this game Trevor Barwick injured his leg and had to go to hospital for treatment after the match.

So our success record was 100% and at times we amazed ourselves by our high standard of play. Enjoyment on the field was immense but we also had a good time between matches with the usual quota of characters emerging. Various would-be horsemen displayed their skill or lack of it at the riding school, notably Mr. Gibson.

These lighter moments added to the enjoyment of a successful tour.

D. HUGHES (Captain) P. GIBSON (Master-in-charge)

1973 School Magazine


School Fair (1962)


Sporting Memories



Foreword to the First Magazine (1956)



Photos of Staff


A Visit to the British Museum (1958-59)