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News > OS News > Century of Deards family College memories

Century of Deards family College memories

21 Mar 2023
Written by Jennifer Law
OS News

Fascinating to hear from OS Tom Deards (AH,80-85) this week with a rather fabulous photograph of his Old Stortfordian Grandfather CR (Roger) Turney (Waytefield, 1920-24). A hundred years on from the 1923 image and with help from the digital archive of The Stortfordian we can with a degree of confidence confirm that the team pictured could be the Waytefield House Rugby Team from 1922/23.

Mr Deards’ Grandfather is pictured at the back far right of the photograph and the chirpy faces of his fellow teammates can be explained by their resounding victory over Alliott House in the fixture.

The match report from The Stortfordian is as follows:

Alliott House v. Waytefield. Played on Upper Field, on Oct. 17th.

Result:—Waytefield won, 49—3.

The weather conditions were conducive to better rugger than was displayed. Alliott's kicked off uphill. Waytefleld immediately started to press, and after ten minutes' play J. A. White opened the score. Pritchard converted and shortly afterwards added three more points by dropping a penalty goal. Waytefleld continued to press, faulty tackling on the part of the Alliott backs letting in D. G. White and Sturgess[1]Wells for unconverted tries. With the score 14—nil, Alliott's made a determined. effort and after some passing in the scrum, Blomfield registered what was to prove their only try. Waytefleld scored twice more before half-time through D. G. White and Cawood, thus bringing the score to 24—3. Favoured by the slope it seemed that Alliott's might now make a fight for it. But the weakness of their outsides made this impossible. Tries were scored by Cave (3), D. G. White (who also dropped a goal), and Dean, three of which were converted. Alliott's owed their defeat to the paralytic weakness of their outsides, where H. J. Palmer was sorely missed.

TEAMS. WAYTEFIELD.—C. R. Turney ; S. E. Sturgess-Wells, D. G. White, J. A. White and B. H. A. Cave ; 0. H. C. Rowe and C. W. Griffith ; D. C, Pritchard, F. W. Davey, E. A. Dean, R. B. Cawood, G. A. Rowe, W. E. Crankshaw, J. T. Page and J. B. Martin.

ALLIOTT HOUSE.—R. D. Relf; A. S. Collard, K. H. Ripper, G. B. Knight and W. E. Davis; W. R. Callan and F. W. Bacon; W. B. Wright, A. H. Blomfield, I. G. Hughes, A. S. Herington, J. T. Boardman. L. J. Ayers, P. B. Kimber and VV. S. Palmer

Tom Deards was the third generation of his family to attend the College as he followed in the footsteps of his rugby playing Grandfather CR (Roger) Turney (Waytefield, 1920-24) and Father Geoffrey Deards (GH,AH, 43-50). Tom mentions that sadly his Father had to leave the College at 16 to return home to the family farm when his father broke his back in a car crash and was on a surgical board for a year. A keen water polo player at school, despite a number of strokes in recent years Mr Geoffrey Deards remains well and talks about his time at the college with nice memories. 

During his time at the College in the 1980s Tom reveals that he used to find his Grandfather’s chair in the Memorial Hall and sit on it – a wonderful College connection across the generations and a stunning chair, still very much in use today.

In the past, the College archive was very lucky to receive a generous donation of Mr Turney’s striped College blazer from Mr Deards Mother, a superb addition for the Stortfordian community to cherish over the decades.

Despite now farming and living in the Welsh borders, the College and his positive memories remain vivid in Tom’s life, sharing only recently with his rugby playing son, the strong sporting rivalries between the College and Felsted prompted by his son’s team facing a strong Felsted side at the Rosslyn 7s.

We are very grateful to Mr Deards for taking the time to get in touch, leading to some intriguing research and sharing of memories across the century.

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