This Saturday the esteemed A&C veterans will run out for their annual display of champagne rugby and polished refereeing. This year the game will be followed by a celebratory lunch and Beer Tasting festival with 8 great taps available from two of our favourite local breweries, Tring and Rebellion.
Players wishing to take the pitch are advised to be at the club and applying linament by 10:30am. No need to advise Peter Williams of a start but if you wish to join the assembled titans of touch for the lunch, please do make contact with him by email.
Following the lunch of Ham, eggs & Chips, the A&C 1st XV will be taking the field against Saffron Waldon in their next league match. The team lineup will be available in the coming days.
What is the Vets?
In the late 1970’s a group of Chiltern stalwarts started veterans rugby for over 35s at Chiltern and aptly called themselves “The Chiltern Hundreds” with fixtures against similar veteran teams at local clubs such as Beaconsfield, High Wycombe and Marlow.
Up until this time most people were retiring from rugby in their mid 30s and with Vets rugby flourishing they were now able to play until their late 40s or even early 50s!
Almost from the start, annual tours were organised to such exotic places as Newcastle, The West Country, Edinburgh, Ireland, Holland, The Isle of Man and most of the capitals of Europe and more recently non playing tours in the UK to support the 1st XV.
Sadly about 10 years ago The Chiltern Hundreds were running out of opponents and the concept of Vets rugby died. However in 2000 a game of touch rugby for over 35s was held at the club and in 2003 we held the Andy Gillanders Silver Jubilee Game, which evolved into a 15 a side touch rugby, and every year since Peter Williams has organised a match to bring together those who so enjoyed vets rugby and to allow the old and infirm to take part.
Colostomy bags are emptied, strapping generously applied and artificial aids installed.
Referees Charles Owen-Conway and Peter Dickinson have taken some 15 years to iron out the special laws for this match and ensure that players adhere to the “Touch Rugby” aspect when not in the scrum, lineout or maul.
Each year the match is held to celebrate one of the stalwart member’s significant birthdays and today it is the turn of Chris Smith, who turned 65 recently, to buy the beer.
Chris joined the club so long ago he can’t remember when. He featured in the 1st XV for many years before slowing his pace to fit in with the gentler motions of the Extra Bs and Chiltern 100s.
He was club president from 2002 to 2010 and in 2003/4 cycled to every 1st XV away game to raise £12500 towards the new clubhouse and 10 years later found his bicycle clips again to ride to Arnhem to join the club tour there and raise £7000 for the Paras.
Chris was Bucks County President 2015/6 and is currently the County’s Old Fart on the RFU Council. We wish him a belated Happy Birthday and hope he’s bought enough beer to satisfy our thirsts.
Updated 14:16 - 22 Oct 2017 by Tony Coyle