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#30 - 1987

In 1987, our first XV put Shiplake Rugby firmly on the map! Following an incredibly successful season, for the first time in the School’s history, the 1st XV rugby team reached the final of the county cup, and won it in great style!

A round up of the season was included in The Court

“This was, without question, the best 1st XV the school has ever had. After the very first match, when we had trounced Magdalen College, the Headmaster announced at his staff meeting, "If you want to watch some good rugby this term, watch the 1st XV". How right he was. Victories against the previously unbeaten Lord Wandsworth XV, and Reed's School, soon followed. Play was based on tremendous scrummaging power, and height in the line-out. The back row were very fit and fast and were complemented by Brewer at scrumhalf, who played like a fourth back row forward! The other powerful weapon was Haynes the centre, reputedly the heaviest man in the team and very difficult to stop on a crash ball! Therefore we were able to get over the advantage line when we were in possession, and pressure the opposition behind the advantage line when they had possession. However from second phase ball, we did not really use the undoubted skills and pace of Salleh, Akande and Co., out in the backs. As the weeks went by, a tremendous team spirit built up, and belief in their own ability. This was briefly lost when we played Abingdon School for the first time. The pressure got to the players and we lost very badly - this is one match we will do better in next season!”

Welsh House, once the New Vicarage of 1907, was extended in 1987. This followed an Appeal directed by Bob Esau, then Housemaster of Welsh, The prevailing theory was that appeals should be conducted by an individual close to the scheme and potential donors. Once again, classroom space available to boarders at weekends and during evenings, was included.

In 1984 the OV Committee asked if the College would like the Old Viking Society to deal with a low priority area - the appearance of the front lodge entrance on the A4155. Naturally the Governors welcomed this offer. Much discussion, planning and fundraising followed and in 1987 the work was completed. The design is discreet - twin low walls, set well back from the roadway, with Portland stone tablets inscribed 'Shiplake College'. The work was carried out by Mr Brian Burgess, master i/c technical subjects at the College, and an honorary member of the Old Boys Club. Being a young school, the College's Old Viking Society was only 25 years old, and this improvement was their first major venture into bricks and mortar. The cost of the entrance was £4,000.

We love this little entry in The Court from pupil Michael Rhodes entitled ‘2 Sides’:

"2 sides" is the standard mild punishment at Shiplake. Normally these are rushed off in a fairly dispassionate manner, but every so often the genius and inventiveness of youth bursts out. These sides were entitled "Why I did not hand in my Maths Prep'! These are the reasons why I didn't hand in my Prep. My cat was sick on it. The dog chewed it. My brother ripped it. I posted it to you but it didn't get there because I didn't put a stamp on it. Collings looked at it and it fizzled up. It blew away and it landed in the middle of a cow field, and a cow trod on it, chewed it, and then ate it. When I was taking it out of my brief case I tore it. I put it in my History book and handed it in. I forgot to hand it in, I couldn't be bothered. I lost my book. I handed in the wrong Maths book. I forgot to take my brief case to the Maths lesson. I didn't do the prep. I dropped it in a muddy puddle. I used it as a firework. I made it into a paper aeroplane. I tore it up and fed it to my goldfish. I handed in my English book instead. I spilt a bottle of ink all over it. I used it to light a bonfire. Squire hit me and knocked it into the incinerator. My mum got in a bate and ripped it up. I lost it at home. I turned it into a poster. My brother took the book back to school with him and he lost it. My mum used it for the rabbit. I thought it was one of my old books from my last school and I threw it away. My brief case was stolen. I forgot what the combination for my brief case was. When I was on holiday at the beach it floated away in the sea. A shark ate it. It fell off a cliff and landed on the rocks. It got flushed down the toilet. I used it as a rugby ball. I used it as target practice. I played football with it. I spilt milk all over it. When I was shopping in Cambridge a pickpocket took it. A tramp ate it. The kitchen staff cooked it because they thought it was a potato. I used it as a kite but the string broke and it flew away. I used it as a scrap book. I made the pages into playing cards. I made the rest of it into monopoly money. I used it to write sides on.

Also in 1987:

- The third annual Paris Art Trip ‘made use of air travel’ for the very first time, allowing six full days this time.

- The 1987 Public Examinations in June went smoothly despite the enormous amount of stomach illness and flu, which meant boys sometimes had to sit their exams in sick-bay!

- The Junior Production of Sweeney Todd was considered a success by all who attended.

- Following new guidelines from the Rugby Union, discouraging matches between school pupils and young adults, the final rugby match between the College and the OVS took place, a fixture that had been tradition for the last 24 years.