Welsh Academicals History : An Invitation From The Accies
Trevor Brewer was educated at Newport High School from which he won seven Welsh Secondary Schools caps as a centre. At senior level he won a Blue at Oxford, represented the Army in 1953-54, and made three appearances for Wales on the wing. Newport and London Welsh, whom he skippered, were his clubs. As he saw it, Welsh Academicals RFC offered players special privileges.
I never delayed accepting an invitation to play or tour with the Accies. First of all you were promoting the game. Secondly there was a good feeling to be had out of helping to raise money for a deserving charity. Thirdly, the invitation meant that you would meet again and enjoy the company of old school Rugby friends who had gone off to a different university.
For example in 1951 or thereabouts I toured with Carwyn James, taking the opportunity to remind him that he was once in a Llanelli team which met a London Welsh side of which I was captain at Herne Hill, and that he had an important influence on one of the tries. Carwyn picked up his ears and wanted me to recall the details. I informed him that he had taken a drop-out 25 (as it then was) which fell straight into my lap, allowing me to nip in for a try unmarked. Did he think momentarily, I asked him, that we were both playing for the Accies?
Doug Ackerman, Tom Baxter-Wright, Onllwyn Brace, Tom Griffiths and Len Davies were among others whose company was fun, while the on-field "minder" of us youngsters in my time was Tom Buckthought. As poor students we were good at making our own entertainment, and tours cost us no more than a fiver.
Probably typical of the spirit of the game fifty years ago was when I turned up to play for the Accies in a charity game against Emlyn Davies's XV at Aberavon only to discover that I had forgotten my shorts. Gallantly, Tom Baxter-Wright gave up his pair to me, expecting to remain on the bench. Geoffrey Windsor Lewis then failed to put in an appearance for the opposition; Tom had to cover his absence - and now had to do the rounds in search of a pair of shorts that he could borrow! The final ingratitude was that he found himself marking me.
Typical of the game fifty years ago, I believe, was the way schoolmasters in particular gave up spare time to support school teams and representative sides such as Welsh Academicals RFC. To my mind, no-one did more in that respect than Dave Clark, who took all young Accies under his wing.
My career took me away from Wales, and it was only after retirement that I got involved with the club again, having met Dai Owen at the Varsity match in 1991. Following an Accies Dinner I was invited by John Lowe to play in the annual Golf Day, which I did with great enjoyment from 1993 to 1998.