Season 1968-69

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Frank Lavis, who had captained the highly successful Colts side of 1964-5, and who since had made his position in the first team pack his own, took over as club captain supported by a vastly experienced and wily scrum half Ray Plummer, who had moved from Newquay to Plymouth and indeed whilst playing for the Hornets the previous season had scored against the Club.
Outside Ken Daniels, equally at home and successful at full back or centre, together with Dave Martin and Billy Ryan were towers of strength, in the pack were the experienced Peter Green, Barry Rees and John Price with strong support from former Colts now including the massive 17 stone former Devon Colt John Williams.
 

This season was the inauguration by the Devon RFU Committee of the Devon Cup, open to most Devon Clubs, irrespective of status. In the first round, the Club was drawn away to RNE College. Losing a back row forward through injury in the opening minutes the rest of the side had to defend resolutely but went into arrears after 33 minutes, and indeed continued on the defensive throughout the first half being penned in their own 25 for long periods. Graham was responsible for the College try. It was not until 15 minutes from time when the College mishandled a long kick from Ken Daniels, that John Price, following up at speed, touched down to level the scores. Subsequently, but not at this time, a rule was introduced making the away side winners in drawn games. The return on October 9th again at Keyham was a late afternoon/early evening kick off and due to the light - or lack of it - had to be abandoned 9 minutes from the end and indeed the same problem had prevented extra time in the first game. In the replay the club were leading by 3 John Williams penalties to one in reply from the College and in the event the DRU awarded the game to Argaum.

In the next round the Club travelled to Barnstaple, the report reading "Revived after 10 years the Devon Cup boosted Barnstaple’s gate noticeably. However, the game did not improve their reputation!". Barnstaple won comfortably enough 26-3 Jim Francis scoring Argaum’s lone try. Including Devon Cup games, the overall record was W23, L11, D2, 565-266, including the double over Kingsbridge, Services A, Newquay Hornets, Withycombe and Old Heleans. Hayle 0-5 and 11-15 were the only club to gain the double over Argaum, although Crediton 3-3 at Plymouth and 11-18 in the return were nearly there. Touring side Stourbridge was successful 3-11.



The Wanderers opened the season on a note of tragedy, when in the second game at South Molton against their Unicorns, Argaum full back Peter Bond was seriously injured in a tackle and rushed to hospital, where he remained for 18 weeks. After considerable anxiety, he pulled through to some extent, but was left without the use of his legs and confined to a wheel chair. Clubs throughout the country rallied round to subscribe to the Peter Bond fund opened by the Devon RFU. The County Committee (President George Wakeham the former Argaum player) arranged a benefit match, a City of Plymouth XV v the Devon Presidents XV, for which Plymouth Albion willingly made Beacon Park available. John Price of Argaum was honoured with the captaincy of the Plymouth side, for whom Jim Francis also appeared in the centre, the balance of the team comprising Plymouth Albion players.

The President amassed a powerful side including Ken Plummer (brother of the Argaum scrum half) Dick Uzell and Howard Norris - both Welsh caps - supported by a galaxy of county players. The result, a wonderful exhibition before a crowd of over 5,000, the Presidents team carrying out their captain's orders (Howard Norris) to throw the ball around, the Plymouth side making its own contribution to open play, the difference between the sides - primarily speed - saw the President's side romp home by 53 points to 16. The Peter Bond fund benefited substantially and part of the proceeds were used to purchase a car for him - which with his wife as chauffeur gave him and his family mobility.

The Wanderers, under Ian Cooper, had a wonderful season W29, L2, D3, 746-139. The two defeats were in the opening half of the season 9-13 v Exeter University II and 9-11 v Crediton II, whilst St Austell 0-0 and Kingsbridge A 6-6 accounted for the draws. There were doubles over Cullompton, S Molton Unicorns (including 41-9 in the Peter Bond match) Launceston A, Brixham II, Prince Rock and Liskeard/Looe. The Drifters also had a successful season W20, L7, D4, 376-178, with more than a fair share of tight finishes. Old Technicians 11-11 and 8-5, Torquay Ramblers 3-3, Bideford III 4-3, Barnstaple B 9-11 Veor Social Club 6-9 and Exeter University III 3-6, the one really merited defeat was by Easter tourists Seaford 9-21. The Floaters, 9 wins 11 defeats, 161-241. The A Colts W15, L9, D1, 412-187. The B Colts managed but 2 games, a defeat and a draw and by the end of September had petered out through lack of players.

Additional Info

  • 1st XV Captain: F.Lavis
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