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Leader Magazine
SUMMER 1963.
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J/Gnr. Worton, 'B' Company.
When the last edition of the magazine was printed, we were waiting to contest the final of the Army Junior Team Championships. This took place at Oswestry on 23rd November, 1962, against the Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion. We were defeated by 35 points to 34, and the match result was in the balance right up to the final bout, between J/Sig Perkins of 'D' Company and J/Sgt Marlow of Oswestry, which after a close fight was lost on a points decision.
The Regiment next boxed in the Western Command Junior Championships and titles were won by J/Sgt Sheldon, J/L/Bdr Hanson, J/Sig Bates, J/Gnr Worton, J/Gnr Swindell, J/Gnr Pook and J/Pte Hinchcliffe. The Regiment won the Western Command Cup for having the largest number of individual winners. J/Pte Hinchcliffe went on to win the Army Junior title and J/Gnr Worton represented the Army in the I.S.B.A. Tournament. Worton won an I.S.B.A. title and eventually reached the quarter finals of the National A.B.A. Championships, where he was narrowly defeated.
Thus concluded an excellent season. The members of the Boxing Hobby have been, this term, making most of the excellent weather to keep in trim for next winter's campaign for the Championship which we so narrowly missed.
As the last edition of the magazine went to press, we were waiting for the Command Championships, which were also the first rounds of the Army Junior Cup. These were held at Oswestry and the Regiment was represented by D Company, winners of the inter-Company knockout competition. The team was: Raines, Clark, Gibbons, Impey, Lamb, Lavery, Miller, Smedley, Smith and Reynolds.
The team successfully won its way to the final by beating 'A' Company, AAS, Chepstow by 29 points to 28, and the Junior Guardsmen's Company, Infantry Junior Leaders' Battalion, by 49 points to 23. In the final, against B Company, AAS Chepstow, we were leading by 30 points to 17 at half time, but this lead gradually dwindled. With one minute to go, Chepstow went in front and held on to beat us 42 - 45.
Having got so near, we are determined to pull it off next time, and Sgt Bailey, returned revitalised from the AMRU, is coaching the teams in preparation for next term, whilst D Company are putting in practice to ensure that they again represent the Regiment. Fortunately, J/CSM Raines, who is captain of the Regimental team, does not leave until Christmas.
Two centuries ago fencing was a very popular sport in Britain, but this was spoiled when a fencing master called James Figg decided that weapons were not really necessary for self-defence and introduced boxing. He was not a very good fencer, but became champion at boxing. This may have been very good for Mr. Figg, but it led to a national decline in the interest in and standards of fencing; and British fencing has not yet completely recovered from this set-back.
Strategically situated between the old Guard Room, and the old Roman Catholic Church, the Fencing Club at Tonfanau seeks during hobby periods, to help foster the interest of newcomers to the sport in this, the most noble of the world wide arts of self defence. Membership varies from term to term, but works out between fifteen and twenty Junior Leaders, taught, encouraged, cursed and cajoled by two permanent staff, one civilian and Sgt Cross, with the occasional addition of Cpl Springthorpe, who provides fitness training for all concerned.
Junior Leaders, usually without any actual knowledge of the sport, but with an interest engendered and nourished by the great epics of the large and small screens, arrive and are instructed in the basic movements of sword play by instructors and also by the senior boys. This period involves a great deal of self discipline and very hard work, causing the less firm minded of the newcomers to seek a reprieve by joining another, less strenuous hobby. After this testing time, they enter into the full enjoyment of fencing, by judging and presiding over bouts, and by taking part themselves. This course of instruction involves only the foil, but more advanced boys go on to both epee and sabre, where they require all their original skill gained with the foil, and extra strength, speed and fitness, gained at the tender hands of Cpl Springthorpe.
This has been a very successful year for the team, since we suffered only one defeat. Matches have been held with the Junior Tradesman's Regiment, Rhyl, RAF Cosford, and the University College of North Wales, Bangor, and victories were gained in all these. When the Western Command Section of the Junior Army Team Fencing Championships took place therefore, there was a quiet air of confidence in the Club. This confidence was reflected in the results which were: A.A.J.L.R. 17 bouts, Oswestry 8 bouts; A.A.J.L.R. 13 bouts, Junior Tradesmen's Regiment, Rhyl 12 bouts; The Regiment was therefore the winner of this zone.
The Army finals took place at Aldershot on May 14th and the following results show the standard of fencing: A.A.J.L.R. 14, Junior Leaders R.E., Dover 11 A.A.J.L.R. 13, J.T.R., Troon 12; A.A.J.L.R. 12, Junior Leaders R.A.C. Bovington 13. We were therefore runners up to the R.A.C., whom we wish to congratulate most sincerely.
The team which was so narrowly defeated was: J/Sgt Lamb 'D' Coy, J/L/Cpl Pearce 'C' Coy, J/L/Cpl Wiseman 'D' Coy, J/Gnr Hodgkinson 'A' Coy, and J/Cpl Ellis 'C' Coy.
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A practice match at Morfa.
Very few of the XL Club left at Christmas, so that the 1st XV entered 1963 almost unchanged, but with an unimpressive record of eight defeats in ten game. This was considerably improved once the snow disappeared, and we won half our next ten games.
Two of our defeats were against the RA Junior Leaders from Bramcote whom we had to play in both the Army competitions. First we met them at Tonfanau in the second round of the Army Junior Cup, after we had beaten the Arborfield Junior Leaders 28 points to nil. On a rainy, winds day we lost eight nil, Bramcote's narrowest victory of the season at that time, and they went on to win the Cup. The second encounter was at Bramcote, where we lost 6-24 in the final of the Western Command Cup, having disposed of Rhyl and Oswestry on the way.
Despite the cancellation of many fixtures, the 2nd XV played very well, winning six of their nine games and producing Rugby that was always enjoyable to watch.
The following Junior Leaders were awarded their Regimental Colours: I. Parr (Capt), I. Chapman, G. Page, J. Blake. H. Thomas, L Cameron, T. Scriven and M. Williams, who has been appointed 1st XV Captain for the coming season.
With many of the 1st XV still with us until Christmas, we look forward to a good season this Autumn, but we have an immediate problem in producing a good 2nd XV who will be able to step into the gaps in the 1st XV for next Spring, when we have the Army Competitions, and will have lost most of the 1st XV.
During the Easter term we had the inter-Platoon Cross Country competition held over our new course. The runners could he seen from the Camp for most of the way and it soon became evident that the green vests of 'C' Company were well up. In fact the race was won by Normandy Platoon.
The Regimental team had a very full fixture list culminating in the Army Championships. At Blackdown the runners found a very hard, hilly, snow bound course and it was necessary to wear spiked running shoes. The team came third out of the sixteen teams competing behind our old rivals the Infants Junior Leaders Regiment and the RAC Junior Leaders Regiment. As most of the team will still be here we have high hopes for next year. We were pleased to win the North Wales Youth Cross Country Cup for a fourth time later in the term.
We were sorry to see Captain Zala, who had done so much for the Club, leave on posting. The cross country club had a first class dinner at the end of the term with the Commandant and Major Barrow as guest. J/Sgt Percival, the team captain, summed up the season and then wished his successor J/Pte Burnett, the best of luck.
Although it is the Summer Term, the Club is busy training hard in anticipation for the following season, a season which includes three cup competitions and two league competitions, as well as the usual friendly games.
The major cup competition next term will be the Army Cup Competition. The Unit has high hopes of regaining this trophy and with a nucleus of good experienced players from last term the chances a rated high. The performance of these players has been very promising this term, as many of the permanent Staff XI will verify, having just beaten them by the odd goal in the semi-final of the local cup competition.
The Western Command Junior Leaders League initiated by this Unit, should prove to be an interesting competition, and it is hoped a successful one for the Unit.
As I shall not be with the Unit next term, I should like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone who has helped train, or support the team. I should also like to wish graduating members continued success with their Army and Football careers.
If we were "pot hunters", the season so far has not been successful, because we were knocked out of the Army Cup by a very good Rhyl side in the first round. But all our games so far have been enjoyable and standard of play seems to be improving.
We opened the season by thrashing Dolgellau Grammar School by 126 runs, scoring 136 and bowling our opponents out for 10. The thinness of our batting was exposed in our next two games where we scored 57 and 53 against Towyn Grammar School and Dolgellau Grammar School respectively, but won both games by 12 runs thanks to very good bowling and fielding.
We then came up against the great disadvantage of having to play and practice on the soft slow Merionethshire wickets. On a hard fast wicket at Bramcote the Gunners bundled us out for 37, our batsmen being completely beaten by the pace of the wicket. Even then we took five of their wickets before they passed our score. We then went to Rhyl and, for the first time in the season, our fielding let us down. Catches galore went down and our opponents reached 131-8. Only our fist four batsmen played well on another fast pitch and were bowled out for 78.
Next the Sergeants' Mess played us and at last, our batsmen struck form. Helped on by an excellent 78 from Greenway we totalled 191 and bowled the Sergeants' Mess out for 62.
We hope to enjoy our remaining games and will try to take revenge against Bramcote and Rhyl when they visit us.
Stop Press .. .. .. ATHLETICS
Having established eight regimental records this season, the athletics team were optomistic for the Army Junior Leaders Team Championships held at Aldershot Military Stadium on 8th, July. In fact we finished second to the Infantry Junior Leaders Battalion, with whom we have had close matches all season.
On the strength of their performances, J/Sgt Derrick (triple jump), J/L/Cpl Burnett (mile), J/Pte Holman (half mile) and J/Fus Curtiss (high jump) were selected to represent the Army Junior Leaders team and were awarded Army Colours. The outstanding performance was that of J/L/Cpl Burnett, whose time of 4 mins 32 secs for the mile broke the Army Youth record by no less than 8 seconds.





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