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PLAYERS ASSOCIATION (MPA) - Forty years

MOSELEY PLAYERS ASSOCIATION (MPA)

Forty years of achievement in support of Moseley Rugby Club


The inaugural meeting of the Moseley Old Players Association (MOPA) took place at The Reddings on 11th March 1967, attended by approximately 100 members. The rules and objects of the Association were agreed. A founder member was the recently deceased RAY DOHERTY

The officials and Committee were elected as follows:

Chairman – JIM PARSONS
Hon. Secretary – JOHN WRIGHT
Hon. Treasurer – ALAN GIBBS
Committee – HAROLD STILWELL, DAVID CATHCART, JOHN BLAKSTAD

JIM PARSONS was a Cambridge Blue, an England Services international, seven caps while playing for the RAF and Leicester 1943-45, Captain of Moseley 1947-8 and eventually President.

JOHN WRIGHT was a Moseley 1st XV captain 1961-4

ALAN GIBBS was a centre who did much to rebuild Moseley and North Midlands after the War.

HAROLD STILWELL was a 1st XV prop 1945 and a distinguished captain of the United to the mid 1950s, including an unbeaten season.

DAVID CATHCART played for Moseley from before the War and for Ulster. He represented North Midlands 1947-9 and continued playing until the late 1950s and went on to be Chairman of House and Grounds and President 1966-7 and 1997-8.

JOHN BLAKSTAD played in the 1950s and 1960s for the Moseley 1st XV and Warwickshire. He was known as ‘Rocky’, a ferocious second row.

First Chairman JIM PARSONS had to resign due to business reasons, but was replaced by HARRY HILL, one of the Hill dynasty, President 1968-70, North Midlands 1924, 1925 and 1933, and was in the North Midlands team that played the All Blacks at Villa Park in 1924. He was Moseley 1st XV captain 1926-7 before having a spell in Malaya. He played for Moseley in 1939, aged 36, after first playing for Moseley in 1919.

A fine array of talented players becoming administrators at Moseley.

The historic first meeting was recorded with a group photograph, now in the archives. A member of the Committee became a member of the Moseley Club Committee to provide a link between the Association and the Club.

Since 1967, the following have been officers of the Association:

Chairman: HARRY HILL, DAVID CATHCART, ARTHUR EDGE, DEREK NUTT, and currently JOHN NOLAN.

Hon Secretary: JOHN WRIGHT, JOHN BLAKSTAD, MIKE ABBOTT, BRIAN DAVIES, CHARLES SMALLWOOD Jnr, COLIN WRIGHT, PETER VEITCH, and currently BRYAN SKEELES.

Hon. Treasurer: ALAN GIBBS, ARTHUR EDGE and currently GEORGE WALTERS.

After the Association’s first year, the membership was 106 with cash in the bank £47.95. In 1987, the membership was 230 and assets £3,721.06. At February 2007, the total membership is 265 and cash raised this season to date at least £2,000 in addition to the commitment to club funds.

In an effort to recruit more players to commit themselves to the Club, it was agreed at the 1993 AGM to change the name to the Moseley Players Association to include current Moseley players.

Later in the professional era, players who had been recruited from distant clubs and went on to other clubs would still have the opportunity of hopefully making a lifelong commitment to the club. Originally to increase the membership, but now it has become a practical decision to cover the professional era of the sport.

There is an additional award of an Honorary Life Membership made to distinguished players and Honorary Membership given to the servants of the club who have not had the good fortune to play for the club, such as CHARLES SMALLWOOD Snr, an outstanding Hon Secretary, Chairman and President of the Club and other past Presidents who have not played for the club, JOE JORDAN, club doctor for many years, and vice-chairman and PETER WOODROOFE, a former Hon Treasurer for 10 years and club historian.

GREVILLE EDWARDS as Commercial Manager was not eligible for the club committee because at the time the Committee members were amateur and no one actually gaining remuneration from the club (commission) could be recommended. He was made an honorary member of the MOPA because of his support of the playing side and now in the professional era is a Vice-President of the club. The latest Honorary Member non-Moseley player is the current Hon. Sec. of the MPA, the vibrant BRYAN SKEELES who has also been much involved with the Billesley Common saga.

The MOPA was soon an integral part of the club’s activities and has contributed much to the club in terms of finance at difficult times on many occasions, including a share investment in the current club. At the moment, it has revived the Remembrance Day Service at the club’s memorial stone, it assists with the Burns Night Celebration and the annual cricket match at Moseley Ashfield and the more recent 300 Club and the RFU Draw through which the Association has raised £1,500 in each of the two years of its existence.

The Autumn Supper is an annual event, with more often than not a former Moseley player as the principal speaker. In addition, there is the DAVID CATHCART MEMORIAL AWARD to help promising young Moseley players develop their talent in the hope they will benefit Moseley in the years to come such as previous winners MARK EVANS, STEPHEN NUTT, STEPHEN HALBERT, OLIVER THOMAS and JAMES RODWELL, who have achieved 1st XV status.

Then of course, the AGM and Reunion has continued to be an occasion of reminiscence and camaraderie, usually held at Moseley’s last home game of the season,

In the early years, the Association made positive contributions to the club including the Honours Board, the flagpole and club flag, a ground clock at The Reddings and many other less obvious improvements.

The Association organised ‘away reunions’ from 1968 at such places as Sale, Waterloo, Rosslyn Park, Wasps, London Welsh, Northampton, Coventry, Bath and Bristol contributing to a closeness between amateur clubs. These days the alickadoos sometimes are involved by chance in another club’s Old Players Reunions. Moseley, on the occasion of the AGM, invite the Committee of the former players of the club playing on that day. On April 21 this year, it will be London Welsh, a club with which we have had a very happy association of many years.

Thus the now MPA has contributed much to the club over the years, a tribute to the officials and committees who have run the Association.
 

 

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