Saturday 15 October 2011
We were delighted to welcome so many OAs back to School for the 2011 OA Open Afternoon and OA Club Annual Dinner. The main afternoon attraction was the annual 1st XV fixture against Radley College, taking place this year at home. Dozens of OAs returned to School to cheer the Abingdon 1st XV on to their resounding 27-13 victory against our biggest local rivals. (Please see the main Abingdon School website for a full match report and photographs.)
After the game, tea was served in the Hospitality Suite of the new Sports Centre, still a novelty for many who hadn’t visited the School since its opening in 2008. Many OAs from across the years also took the opportunity to so on a tour of the site as it is today with a volunteer guide from amongst the current boarders.
Following an afternoon of high spirits and glorious sunshine, over 50 OAs rallied themselves, along with partners and members of Common Room (both past and present), for the Annual Dinner – to reminisce and to celebrate Abingdon’s long-standing tradition of rugby. We welcomed Jon Gabitass (governor and former Second Master) as guest-of-honour along with other former rugby coaches David Crawford, Stuart Hamilton and Steven Page plus Chris Biggs, Keith and Audrey Hasnip and Bill and Angela Potter. We were also joined by current Common Room members Andrew Hall, Andrew Broadbent, Peter Coke and the riotously popular Jeff Drummond-Hay. (A full copy of the guest list is still available.)
After dinner, guests were taken on a whistle-stop tour of the History of Abingdon Rugby with short floor speeches by 1st XV players spanning seven decades, beginning with Basil Margrave (1947) and finishing with Max Wood (2007). Our thanks to all our speakers for sharing their fond memories and hilarious anecdotes of life on the rugby pitch and off. Many thanks also to Sarah Wearne, the School’s Archivist, for compiling the slideshow of archive photographs, depicting rugby at Abingdon over the years. (OAs are welcome to download this presentation as a pdf.) We were very pleased to host mini-reunions for the teams of 1979, 1982 and 1989. ‘Team photos’ were taken at the end of the evening, though not uploaded to this photo gallery, are available electronically from the OA Office.
Thank you to everyone who attended this event and made it such a splendid occasion. If you would be interested in getting your former team mates together to repeat the experience in a few years’ time, then please contact us in the OA Office.