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Former Players Association

Golf Society & Photos           Congratulations      Social events


For inquiries regarding The Bedford Blues Former Players Association please contact:

John Cooley on             01234 823532       or email him at


We were saddened to hear of the sudden, untimely death of former player John Brain aged 50 on Sunday, 27th May.

John made 46 appearances for the Blues between 1991-93. He was currently Rugby Operations Manager at Gloucester RFC, returning to Kingsholm, where early in his rugby career, he made nearly 300 appearances for the Cherry and Whites, from Bristol, where he was forwards coach. Previously, he was Head Coach at Worcester Warriors.

Our thoughts are with John's family at this sad time.




MARK HOWE: 1957 - 2012

The Former Players Association has lost one of its legendary and most prestigious members. Mark Howe, was one of only two players, along with Budge Rogers, to be a member of Bedford's 400 Club, making 478 appearances between 1976-96 and captaining the Blues during the 1989-90 season.

Mark made his debut as a teenager at Bedford Modern School and made the No. 2 jersey his own for the next twenty years. He was a one club player - 'Bedford to his Boots'- said 'Rugby World'. He represented England Schools, England Students, U23s, East Midlands, Midlands, Barbarians and was a final trialist in 1981.

His commitment to the club continued as a member of the Board of Directors until his untimely death on Sunday, 6th May.

The Former Players Association extend their deepest sympathy to Bex and the children at this very sad time.



The Club Dinner and Presentation Evening:

An excellent Club Dinner was held on Friday,18th May with approximately 200 former players and guests attending. The guest speaker was former Scottish International and British Lion, Andy Nichol, who was very entertaining. Also thanks go to Paul Meads and his staff who catered for the event.

During the course of the evening Josh Bassett presented Director, Richard Manning with his U20 shirt and Chris Locke and Jon Fisher were jointly awarded the Players' Player of the Year Trophy.



More than 80 former players attended the London Lunch at The Brewery on Friday, 3rd February and amazingly, there were representatives from eight decades at the club. R.A.B. Rogers who first played for the Blues in 1939 to Matt Volland who last played in the 2007-08 season.


'Rab' (pictured left) played fly half between 1939 and 1948, his rugby career at Goldington Road, interrupted by the war when he served in the 1st Suffolks, a regiment, which played a significant part in the Normandy landings at Sword Beach.


Gerry Micklewright (right) made 92 appearances on the wing for the Blues between 1952-57, scoring 31 tries. Gerry regularly attends home matches at GR with his son Steve, also a 1st team former player.


Also present was British Lion and England star Budge Rogers along with fellow internationals Brian Keen and Derek Wyatt (England), Mike Rayer (Wales), Alistair Murdoch (Australia) and Mark Lloyd-Williams (Hong Kong).


Representing the club's Directors of Rugby were Alistair Murdoch, Colin Jackson and Mike Rayer as well as former club coaches Pat Briggs and Richard Chadwick and  ten of the club's  captains.


It was also good to see former player Jim Philbrook who travelled from Bath for his first London Lunch. Jim made 127 appearances for the Blues between 1963-70, scoring 523 points.

The F.P.A.'s next event is the Spring Lunch at the club. The date will be decided when the play-offs have been confirmed.




Congratulations to the club and Former Players Association on the first class organisation and success of the anniversary dinner. The feedback has been phenomenal.... 

‘A tremendous occasion for Bedford RUFC’

‘Great ambience’

‘Congratulations on a truly wonderful evening’

‘delicious food and first class waitress delivery’

‘to have made such a huge undertaking run so smoothly and professionally was a triumph’

‘Compere, TV screens, banners, excellent guest speaker kept the interest going’

‘Great night had by all’   ….and many more.  

The FPA committee would like to thank everyone involved in the organisation with special thanks to the following: Leigh Mansell and Ben Whetstone for the liaison between the FPA and the club. Also Leigh for supplying the scooter as raffle prize which was won by Liz Ormesher (see picture right) and Ben for organising the banners and video clips.  

Mike Lilley for using his sales skills in marketing the anniversary bow ties. Ronnie Beard for table organisation, chasing payments and her attention to detail.  Andy Irvine for liaising with all parties and keeping them informed.

Neil Roy, Phil Beard and the many others who worked so hard to produce the 125th anniversary book. The Chairman for his continual massive support and the President for his input. Club Director, Ian Bullerwell for creating the initial momentum in ticket sales.  

Thanks to Martin Bayfield for agreeing to be our main speaker and proving he is the best there is and to Sam Roberts as compere, for coordinating the whole evening so well.  

Finally, special mention should be made of Paul Meads who organised the marquee and catering. With nearly 800 people present this was a real challenge and the results exceeded all our expectations.




Bedford RUFC Golf Society Golf Day held at Abbotsley GC on Thursday, 17th May.

The Society welcomed two international guests - former player Phil Roberts from France and Mike Cook for Perth in Australia. Also playing were current players Gregor Gillanders and Brendan Burke. Presentations were made by the Society's President, Albie Saunders.


1st: Phil Roberts - 31points
2nd: Gregor Gillanders - 30 points
3rd: Gareth Davies - 30 points

Nearest the pin: Alan Harper-Smith
Longest Drive: Phil Roberts

FPA v Northampton


Many thanks to Bob Taylor for organising this match on Mobbs Memorial Day. Unfortunately, John Shurvington, the Northampton captain was in hospital and we wish him well and a quick return to golf.


We played at Northampton Golf Club which proved to be an excellent course with the last three holes sorting the men from the boys.


Bob had put together a very strong team and although as a team we played well Northampton came through to win 4 – 2 - a well deserved win.


Afterwards we had dinner in the famous Crooked Hooker run by Piggy Powell and then watched Northampton play the Army in the comfort of the superb stands.


Team: John Cooley, Gerald Bygraves, Richard Chadwick, Steve Wells, Bob Wilkinson, Brian Page, Phil Evans,  Keith Lilley, Chris Heron, Alan Buchanan, Mike Smith and Terry Arnold'


Blues v FPA


On arriving at The Bedford GC early, some Blues players were practising putting on the green so we knew they were up for it as the annual matches so far were at three all. Good to see Karl Dickson, the former Blues player, now playing for Harlequins playing for the 1st time for the FPA.


Brendan had got together 16 players and the FPA team were full of experience, the only doubt was did they have the stamina because the Blues looked a very young side? Although the weather forecast was poor the rain held off and some excellent golf was played with Paul Alston and Chris Heron, Terry Arnold and Karl Dickson the only winners for the FPA.


Team results


1. Phil & Sam                          v          Gerald & Gareth                          All square

2. Chris Locke & Darryl           v          Chris Heron & Ollie                     4/3 to FPA

3. Toops & Jamie                    v          Andy  Moffat  & Pagey                 2 up Blues

4. Gregor & Dad                     v          Mike R. & Chads                          6/4 to Blues

5. Sacha & Don Barrell            v            Karl & Terry Arnold                     5/4 to FPA

6. Alex Rae & Neil Cochrane   v            Keith Lilley & Phil Evans              2/1 to Blues

7. Mark & Stefan                     v          Sub & Steve Wells                      3/1 to Blues

8. Brendan & Vassy                v          Cools  & Brownie                        3/2 to Blues


Result   Blues 5.5          FPA 2.5


A resounding victory for the Blues which was well deserved. After long discussions through the dinner and into the night the FPA players consider they will learn more from this defeat than the Blues and come back stronger next year.

Bedford RUFC Golf Society

Golf Day at Bedford GC on Tuesday, 13th September 2011

21 members played. Although the conditions were blustery some surprisingly high scores were recorded.
Golf Society President Albie Saunders presented prizes to the winners.


1st  Alan Harper-Smith
2nd  Phil Day
3rd  Chris Searle

Longest drive     John Cooley
Nearest the pin  Gareth Davies

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