Ex-players help celebrate club’s 50th anniversary

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AS part of their 50th anniversary celebrations Blyth Rugby Club organised an ex-players lunch in their Plessey Road clubhouse which attracted a superb turnout of 85 former players covering the entire 50 years since Blyth’s formation in 1961.

Several had made lengthy journeys from all over the country to be present and in one case, from New Zealand.

Amongst the guests were 12 former club captains including Iain Fraser (1966-69), who had not been back to the club since leaving the area in 1970, and all-time leading points scorer Tom Viard (1975-76), whose 393 points in a season still stands as a club record.

Nostalgia was much in evidence as those present browsed through the exhibition of old photographs, match reports, programmes and other memorabilia which illustrated the ups and downs of the club’s first half century.

In greeting the ex-players, club president Stuart Bainbridge noted the healthy state of the club today with four senior teams and a thriving youth section which provided new generations of players.

He said all of those present had contributed to the club’s current success.

The recently opened £385,000 changing block set alongside a first class floodlit pitch would have been beyond the wildest dreams of 1960’s teams

Players from these early years, when the club had no clubhouse and changed in an old wooden shack on Cowpen Playing Field, were amazed at the high standard of the club’s current facilities.