Old Uffingtonians Association (1994)

   Willesden County Grammar School                         Ex-Pupils 1924-1967                    


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Some Personal Sports Memories 1943-50

The early years of this period are lost in prehistory as far as anything specific is concerned.  In retrospect it seems that soccer must have been very important to myself and others judging from the amount we played.  There was practice after school on Thursdays, interschool matches on Saturday mornings, and for Ken Fletcher's Old Uffs team on Saturday afternoons.

In addition, on various summer evenings, some of us played for he Harlesden Odeon Cinema Club.  Although we didn't belong to the club itself, knowing the manager got us in to a few free films.

The worst result I remember was when we played Isleworth Grammar for the first time.  We lost 10-1, despite the best efforts of our goalie, Len Woodford.  Latterly Len, John Hayes, Ben Storkey and I played for the Middlesex County Schools XI, as did Tony Marchi who later played for England and Spurs.  We also spent every break and lunchtime in the Quad, kicking a tennis ball about.  To the 'delight' of our parents we wore out a pair of shoes about every six weeks.

 In addition there were the normal curriculum sports activities, Country Dancing practice followed by dancing at Cecil Sharp House on Saturday evenings, and the other major winter sports - Table Tennis.  Two of the school team, Bernstein and Shorrick would later play for the RAF.

Almost forgotten now because it was mostly considered a real pain, there was cross country running around King Edward's And Roundwood Parks.  The winter season ended with the girls v boys hockey match, which we generally lost.

Summer meant cricket and it was out to the nets at lunchtime and after school.  The most memorable match was always that against Kilburn Grammar, where despite the tension, our results were nothing spectacular.  They did have a very good fast bowler.

Having been taught to swim in the Gladstone Park Baths, many of us were cajoled into the Inter-House swimming competition at King Edward's.  I swam for Danes rather reluctantly, because I wasn't very good at it.  I was disqualified from the breaststroke heat for turning my head to the side.  This was called the side-stroke apparently!

Summer also meant Athletics-School Sports Day at King Edward's, Inter-Schools County meeting at Alperton and, if selected from there, the All-England County Championships.  Those of us who were not members of athletics clubs, trained by miserably pounding round the King Edward's track in plimsolls for a couple of laps.  There were not many exceptional athletes at school then, although David Presland regularly did shot and discus for the All-England team.  We all thought Schwartz phenomenal as 8-foot stride fairly gobbled up the track in the Mile race.  My best long jump was 18ft 6ins, and running in the 440 at Alperton I came 4th despite the elastic breaking in my shorts.

The netball match against the girls ended the term and we usually won that.  I apologise for not mentioning girls sports but they were not something I noticed much.  I recall though they had a pretty good tennis team.

G. Bernard Ward