Season 1957-58

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1st XV 1957-58 (R to L):E.O'Carroll, B.Maunder, R.Twiss, J.Beaman, C.Magner, T.Glashen, B.Spiller, M.Dodd; J.Niles, N.Mckenow, F.May, J.Frankham, G.Rhodes, F.Avis, W.Smith; J.Magill, J.Vassie. 1st XV 1957-58 (R to L):E.O'Carroll, B.Maunder, R.Twiss, J.Beaman, C.Magner, T.Glashen, B.Spiller, M.Dodd; J.Niles, N.Mckenow, F.May, J.Frankham, G.Rhodes, F.Avis, W.Smith; J.Magill, J.Vassie.

John Frankham returned to the club after a short Midlands excursion to reassume the captaincy with George Rhodes vice captain and Nigel Cumming in charge of the A side.

Early in 1957 planning permission and financial problems for the proposed clubhouse were overcome and the summer months saw inexperienced labouring parties on the site - driven remorselessly by Tom Hitchins - deployed in laying concrete foundations for the clubhouse; the concrete mixer was operated largely by two naval characters. Leading Seaman Lofty Burston - now gathered into the Argaum fold - and his assistant Petty Officer (scrum half) Dodger Long whose joint and several experience of operating such machines was, as was at once apparent, in immense proportion to the length of their joint naval service, it was therefore somewhat surprising that 68 tons of concrete were, during the summer, successfully placed into the Club’s foundations in time for a firm date to be arranged for the official laying of the foundation stone.

It has never been revealed whether the completion of this work was arranged deliberately to coincide with Leslie Paul’s office as Lord mayor of the City of Plymouth or his Lord Mayoralty so arranged. Whichever, it was there could be no more suitable holder of that office to perform the foundation stone laying and so it was that on 5th June 1957 Leslie officially laid the stone in the presence of the Chairman of Plympton RDC, members of the Committee of Devon RFU, the President Ted Delve and many members both past and present. Photographic evidence of the occasion shows Bill Farren on hand to make sure the stone was well and truly laid. Colin Whiting, (A XV scrum half) a builder by profession, who had unselfishly given of his time and expertise and Reg Gurling the architect. To crown matters the stone itself was the gift of Bill Westlake who for many seasons formed a very effective partnership with Leslie at scrum half.

Possibly distracted by the building operations, the 1st XV broke even W14 L14 D4, 228-222 with scores not deviating greatly in the For and Against columns save Truro 0-31 and Launceston 20-3. The best result, on paper, was 3-0 win over Middlesex Hospital on tour although the strength (or otherwise) of touring sides is hard to assess. ‘C’ Division Met. Police were, for the first time, played on their own account and the score could hardly have been closer, 5-3 to Argaum. The A XV W10 L17 D2, 206-277 and the Extra A achieved a record number of fixtures - 24, alas, winning but 6, losing 16 and drawing 2, 127-313.

Towards the end of the season there was a big influx of school boy players - primarily from Kings Tamerton School - and having seen them in opposition to very adult (and bulky) Club second fifteen’s it was resolved - and next year brought into effect - that an under 18 (Colts XV) should be formed so the youngsters might have an opportunity of being opposed by teams more of their own age and size.
The summer of 1958 was again given over to clubhouse building, when besides Tom Hitchins’ 'whip', Messrs Norman White and Colin Whiting - both experienced builders (and club members) - took an increasing hand in the more technical aspects of building so that by the time the 1958-9 season opened the clubhouse was just about ready for occupation. On 3rd September 1959 that great English international forward 'Erb Stanbury who accumulated his caps between 1922-32, of the Devon RFU cut the tape to open the building. Also present, were Alderman G J Wingett Lord Mayor of the City of Plymouth, Mr G S Thompson Chairman of Plympton RDC, Mr A G Hole President of the DRFU, many members of that Committee and upwards of 100 members and guests of the Club. Erb Stanbury - apart from being on the staff of Plympton RDC had his home right opposite the Geasons and in his refereeing days for Devon RFU, on several occasions, refereed Argaum’s home games there without, probably fortunately, having to avail himself of the facilities of the George Hotel Plympton, his home being just across the road from the Club's then pitches.

Additional Info

  • 1st XV Captain: John Frankham
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