History, Latest News, Sport | Posted: Friday, August 28th, 2020 at 9:36 am | return to news

Book reveals top rugby players connection with New Milton & District RFC

Whilst rugby supporters will have mourned the loss of the game during the end of the last season – it is hoped the 2020 Six Nations will be completed in the autumn – people in New Milton are able to reflect on the success of their local club with the publication of a new book.

L-R, Philip Hutton, Malcolm Mecklenburgh and Nick Mussert
L-R, Philip Hutton, Malcolm Mecklenburgh and Nick Mussert

Malcolm Mecklenburgh, Nick Mussert and Philip Hutton, former players, spent many months researching and writing the history of New Milton and District Rugby Football Club.

And to their surprise they discovered that it was older than originally thought, with the first game having been played in 1924, three years before the traditionally accepted date of its founding.

That game was played on New Milton recreation ground against a BBC XV from London, captained by the noted musician Dan Godfrey.

He was the son of Sir Dan Godfrey, founder of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, who lived locally.

The game was, apparently, a ‘how-do-you-do’ affair and ended when someone removed the posts.

England and British Lions winger Jim Reeves and Scotland international Drummond St Clair Ford both turned out for the club in the 1920s, the book reveals, as did Ken Goldschmidt who was capped by the Barbarians.

Author Malcolm said, “In those early days, until 1938, New Milton was a club that only played games during the university and school holidays.

“It meant that people visiting the area often turned out for the team and there were some notable players.

“The club is one of the oldest in Hampshire and Dorset and its centenary is now much closer.

“Until leagues were established, relatively recently, the club played against teams across the West Country, in the Channel Isles, in France and through Hampshire into London.

“We have included some of the great stories including the time a player was arrested on the pitch, other brushes with the law and a notorious trip to Twickenham.”

As well as some of the more light-hearted stories generated usually by post-match celebration, the book details those players who died in the Second World War.

These included Simon Trestrail, the son of the club’s first president, Major Alfred Trestrail, himself a soldier who was mentioned three times in despatches during the Great War and was awarded a DSO.

Now the authors are researching the second 50 years and would welcome any information from former players, opponents or anyone else connected with the club.

New Milton and District RFC now run three senior sides and booming mini and youth sections.

The book costs £15 (£20 when posted) and can be purchased by email from Malcolm Mecklenburgh on mmecklenburgh@btinternet.com.

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