Written by John Aiken (A. 1976-81)
Saturday, 31 August 2002

A pre-season rugby day, followed by a dinner and dance in the evening, was held at the College on Saturday 31 August 2002. Its purpose was to celebrate 30 years of rugby under the tutalege of John Pope. John has relinquished his title of 'Master in charge of rugby' to Richard Halsall and it seemed an appropriate way to recognise John's contribution to rugby at the College.

The event kicked off at 2.00pm with a seven-a-side tournament comprised of 6 teams of OBs, which was well attended by both players and spectators. Needless to say, the tournament was eventually won by the youngest side with a healthy representation of recent College leavers. The weather was kind and the beer tent helped the event along!

The main event of the day was a well attended dinner and dance, which was held in the Great Hall with a great mix of old and young and John Pope as our guest of honour. A request (or two!) had been made for a minimum of speeches, which had been heartily endorsed by John Pope himself. However, following a very brief presentation to John and Linda Pope, John felt so overwhelmed that he entertained us with a 15 minute speech!

All joking apart - the evening was a tremendous success and plans are underway to extend and improve it as an annual event (including a girls' netball match - get your names down early to avoid disappointment girls!). We are looking at a date in September 2003 so any input would be gratefully received.

Thank you to everyone who made this event such a success but especially to Roger and Nicky Simons, Mark Dodd, Ted Littlewood and all the others who's hard work made it possible.

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