VIPs kick off Bognor Rugby club celebrations

Bognor's past chairmen line up ith present chairman John Donoghue / Picture by Tommy McMillan
Bognor's past chairmen line up ith present chairman John Donoghue / Picture by Tommy McMillan
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Festival Day at Bognor RFC saw more than 80 people sit down to a pre-match luncheon, sponsored by founder John Norris, to celebrate the club’s golden anniversary and the imminent start of the Rugby World Cup.

Club chairman John Donoghue had managed to invite many of the players from the first season of 1965-66. Jim Clare and his wife Sheila had travelled from Australia and Danny West from France. Oldest member present was Don Osbourne, 83, there with his wife.

Attending the luncheon was Sussex president Dewi Vaughan and Roger Edmondson, past president, plus Seaford RFC officials Ian Newby and Gerry Batch.

Seaford were the first team Bognor played in 1965 and were beaten 30-3. Gerry played for Seaford in that match.

Two great games of rugby were played on the day. The Sussex Rugby Union brought a very competent under-20s side to face Bognor and Sussex proved worthy winners at 15-12.

A youthful Seaford team played Bognor’s A team. Both sides entered into the spirit of the occasion, with the ball going through many pairs of hands to provide a very entertaining game, which Seaford won 25-15.

Club chairman John Donoghue had managed to invite many of the players from the first season of 1965-66.

The Sussex and Seaford players entered into the celebration after the match where the rugby friendship continued.

Bognor were proudly represented recently at the Brighton Corn Exchange where the Japanese team arrived for the World Cup. Japan play their first game at the Amex Stadium, Brighton, on Saturday against South Africa.

Photograph (by Tommy McMillan) shows the Chairman and past Chairmen. From left to right John Donoghue (Chairman), Martin Eley, Trevor Upton, Leighton Thomas, Phil Mead, Chris Geoghegan, Bob May, Andy Sweeney and Don Lambert. Missing was John Norris who was unwell.

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