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News > Sport > Old Birkonians v Birkenhead Park

Old Birkonians v Birkenhead Park

Referee Dave Edmunds reports of the annual OBFC v Birkenhead Park fixture.
26 Oct 2022
The OB and Birkenhead Park Players
The OB and Birkenhead Park Players

Birkenhead Park 12 v Old Birkonians 15 

The reunion fixture of the Old Birkonian Rugby team took place on Monday 27th December 2021 at Birkenhead Park RFC. I have refereed this annual fixture now for quite a number of years and it was pleasing this year to see so many former School players turning out even if only for 20 minutes or so, mostly due to their fitness levels not being what they used to be! 

Forty or so years ago the Wirral was blessed with rugby clubs that were associated with local Schools: Old Anselmians, Old Wirralalians, Old Parkonians, Old Rockferrians, Old Birkonians, Old Instonians, to name a few. The clubs thrived with students from their respective Schools playing for them, and local derby games were fiercely contested fixtures. The first four clubs above have reinvented themselves with new names and are now much more community-based; the later two are no longer in existence. When I joined Birkenhead School as a teacher in 1988 The Old Birkonian Rugby Club had closed and its ground at Fender Field was sold a few years later. Perhaps some Old Birkonian with greater knowledge than me could write an article on the history of the club for a future edition of the OB Bulletin? 

This year five former 1st XV captains appeared in the team: Oliver Hearn, Nick Hearn, Will Grabe, Joe Doyle and Isaac Hardisty. They of course bring a few of their team mates from their respective year groups along and a make-shift team is put together on the day, more often than not with Duncan Hendry doing the match day organisation and playing himself! The game is competitive but played in a safe and festive spirit. Most importantly there is a wonderful atmosphere in the clubhouse after the game with many parents, siblings and former teachers in attendance. Overall I suspect this annual match is now the largest simultaneous gathering of Old Birkonians that we have and I hope it can be continued and perhaps even expanded in future years. I very much enjoy seeing so many past students and learning of their careers and families. Finally an appeal to the former 1st XV captains below: please come along and get involved, you are probably still in contact with your former team mates – contact them and come along on the day. If you make sure Carol Keegan has your email address she will contact you a month or so prior to the game to let you know the details. Look forward to the next game in December 2022. 

Dave Edmunds, 1988-2018 

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