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Tuck Shop Chit Chat (Pls read)


Forum: Nostalgia



Created on: 01/01/16 09:58 AM Views: 1513 Replies: 1
Posted Friday, January 1, 2016 09:58 AM


Reading some of the self-deprecating postings of other Old Boys regarding their recollection of names and events, makes me even more hesitant as to the veracity of many of my treasured memories. For this reason, if there are any inaccuracies in the anecdote which follows, please accept my apologies and feel free to correct the record.
Having lectured schoolboy cricketers relentlessly on how to win graciously, it seems more than a tad hypocritical to remind my old DHS friends, of a winter's day when we all had good reason to gloat in victory. Glenwood had arrived with a seemingly unbeatable rugby team boasting several Natal Schools' reps - in fact most of the backline were reputed to be the best in the province. My interest was piqued by the fact that my cousins, the Sclanders twins, were the Glenwood centres playing alongside Rocky Aylward, a much vaunted fly-half of that time as I recall. So sure were they of providing us with a master class, that prior to the start, a Glenwood boy, decked out in DHS colours, was pursued onto the rugby pitch, where he was sprayed with an over-sized home-made powder spray affecting to be a pesticide. This pantomime was concluded with a  slow act of dying of the pathetic victim who was then ignominiously removed from the scene on a stretcher- all of which was meant to symbolise what was about to ensue in the rugby match. The DHS boys were massed on the touch line opposite the terraces, where we silently soaked up the ridicule, many of us convinced that we would just have to grin and bear it!
However, they had badly underestimated the defensive commitment of the DHS boys, exemplified best by Rob Slater, whose tackling had always been a strong feature of his play. I have an idea that he was given the special commission that day to nullify Aylward - a task he performed with admirable efficacy, if not relish - so much so that the Glenwood backline was unable to find any rhythm or fluency.  This notwithstanding, at one stage we were losing 6 - 3, a result which would have felt much like a victory had it been the final score. If I'm wrong in this, I hope someone will correct me, but I have this memory of John Slater - a lock forward unrelated to Rob Slater - being asked to take a penalty kick at considerable distance from the posts, which to our delight -and to be honest, my disbelief - he converted. And, if that wasn't sufficiently enthralling for the now vociferous DHS boys, he repeated the feat in the final stages of the game. 
A ritual at rugby matches was for the School supporters to throw their 'bashers' (boaters) aloft in unison at critical or triumphant moments  - a rather spectacular expression of delight. It so happened that I used heavy stainless steel crutches at that time;  I remember hurling one of these into the air at the final whistle and was much relieved when it landed without causing injury. 
I made an attempt to catch up with my cousins after the game, and inadvertently overheard a querulous Glenwood coach who was more than a little bemused and angry at the unexpected outcome.  
A few years ago I was able to spend an afternoon with Kevin Sclanders, one of the twins, who had also played for Natal and was a Springbok trialist at one stage I believe. I was interested to hear that some of these old adversaries have maintained strong friendships over the years. Sadly his twin brother Errol was on the receiving end of a Rob Slater tackle in a DHS v Glenwood curtain-raiser to an inter-provincial match at Kingspark, and suffered a career-ending injury. They, the twins, were good individually, but together were very exciting in their unpredictability and incisiveness. I should perhaps add that in chatting with Kevin, I resisted the temptation to remind him of that winter's afternoon when the DHS stalwarts were so brave and resilient.
RE: Schadenfreude
Posted Saturday, January 2, 2016 02:15 PM

Inspiring account John. Thanks for sharing