• President
    • Gerald Davies CBE
  • Vice Presidents
    • Andrew Brace
    • DE Brierley
    • Jack Evans
    • Bob Garwood
    • Simon Gulliford
    • David Harries
    • Owain Harries
    • Dr Keith Hughes
    • Peter Jackson
    • W Hopkin Joseph
    • Gerry Latham
    • Ian Lewis
    • Byron Light
    • Greg Lock
    • Nigel Perris
    • Martyn Ryan
    • Anthony Tarr
    • Denys Thomas
    • Richard Whiting
    • John Williams
    • Nick Williams
    • Gary Witchell
  • Life Members
    • Malcolm Baker
    • Gerald Davies CBE
    • Jack Davies
    • Leighton Davies
    • Denis Evans
    • Dennis Gethin OBE
    • Wyn Oliver
  • Chairman
    • Jack Davies
  • Hon Secretary
    • Denys Thomas
  • Treasurer
    • Jon Davis
  • Vice Chairman
    • Tim Lowe
  • Match Secretary
    • Dr Keith Hughes
  • Head Coach
    • Adrian Evans
  • Executive Committee
    • Jack Davies
    • Denys Thomas
    • Jon Davis
    • Tim Lowe
    • Steve Williams
    • Adrian Evans
    • Dr Keith Hughes
    • Rhys Evans
    • Gethin Evans
    • Alun Wynne
    • Dr Brian Rees OBE
    • Wyn Hughes
    • David Williams
    • Gareth Nicholas
    • Richard Emms
    • Steve Whitehead
    • Paul Evans
    • Colin Workman
    • Bob Dyer
    • Paul Jones
    • Simon Thomas

Welsh Academicals History : He Can Call Mr Williams "Bleddyn"

Grahame Hodgson

 

Grahame Hodgson was a full back in the old style: safe as houses, a wholly reliable tackler and an accurate kicker from the hand and off the ground, qualities which won him feefteen caps from 1962 to 1967. A one club man, he led Neath in the 1964-5 season - and, round about the same time, the Academicals, whose chairman he later became.

 

To be selected by your peers to captain any team is usually an acknowledgement either of long service or the ability to think on your feet. So when the Big Four - Messrs Buckthought, Lowe, Newman and Owen - suggested that I should captain, and coach, the Acs' 1964 Cornish tour it was a surprise that gave me great pleasure.

In retrospect, I realise that such honour is not bestowed unless a player is considered good enough to hold his place in the side and be able to think for others. Having had the experience of playing under the leadership of Dr Gwyn Rowlands, Russell Robbins, Cliff Morgan and Onllwyn Brace with the Acs I realised that I was in very good company.

After travelling to Cambourne overnight (thus saving the cost of one night's B & B) we had to waken the secretary of Penzance and Newlyn RFC to get their ground opened for us to stage a practice session - as a result of which enterprise the Welsh Academicals can claim to be ahead of its time. Ironing out the "little things" always tended to make the difference between winning and losing. Of course, one always assumed that Acs were of such skill and intelligence that they would easily and quickly be able to absorb and implement the few ideas that we had been able to conjure up in such a small space of time. Oh, were it so today.

The Acs tour of Cornwall usually included lots of eating and drinking, Rugby on the beach, minimal sleep - and four games in five days with a squad of twenty five players (how dare modern players complain of "fatigue"? - they don't know the meaning of the word). By the way, we paid to play for the Acs!

Most Acs XV contained players at their zenith and the kids straight from school. The joy of captaining them was based on the premise that there was no hierarchy. I mattered not whether you were a seasoned International or if you played for Ogmore Vale Harlequins - once you donned the red jersey you were an "Ac". If ever you showed any sign of "attitude" you would be put firmly in your place by a blistering one-liner from "Buck". Certainly the party in Cornwall in September 1964 gelled in this way, and won all its games. This was of particular satisfaction to me as skipper.

So I thank the Acs for friendship down the years which are renewed at the club Dinner - and especially the Golf Day, an occasion allowing us to express that special fellow-feeling. The banter between age groups, and backs and forwards, is a joy to share.

Also one can sit and listen to ones heroes. The Acs stand for comradeship, loyalty, and a sense of belonging.

Being a Welsh Academical means I can call Mr Williams "Bleddyn".

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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