'64 schoolboy side one for the record books

 FARRER Memorial Agricultural High School might have bowed out of the Schoolboy Cup in Sydney this week but it is still alive in the University Shield and might have a home semi-final as early as next week.

The 1964 Tamworth High side (back from left) Graham Lisle, Ross Finley, Blake Jamieson, Jim Page, Robert Belford, Steve Winter, Bill Henry, Gary Ford, Geoff Kay and John Lingwood. (Front from left) Vic Davis, Ray Watterson, Max Young, Mick Ross (capt), Tony O’Sullivan, Max Redmayne and Graham Goodman.

The 1964 Tamworth High side (back from left) Graham Lisle, Ross Finley, Blake Jamieson, Jim Page, Robert Belford, Steve Winter, Bill Henry, Gary Ford, Geoff Kay and John Lingwood. (Front from left) Vic Davis, Ray Watterson, Max Young, Mick Ross (capt), Tony O’Sullivan, Max Redmayne and Graham Goodman.

The Chris Oxford-coached side is talented, but might have a way to go to match the splendid achievements of the 1964 Tamworth High School first XIII.

Graham Goodman dropped in the accompaying photo and a “write-up” by then-Leader sports editor Ken McKenzie in an August edition of The Leader on that gifted THS side. Read on:

“Tamworth High School’s first grade rugby league team is probably the best schoolboy combination in NSW, if not in Australia. 

“That is a sweeping statement, but if statistics mean anything, it is justified – in fact almost beyond dispute. Tamworth High has had some good teams, but this, according to school authorities, is easily the best for many years.

“As far as can be ascertained, it is the first side to win the University Shield and the State Championship in the same year. Further, it is the only school side to win the State Championship three years in a row, a splendid record alone when it is remembered that Tamworth has competed in this carnival for three years only.

“During the year it played five university shield matches, won them all and scored 145 points and had only 14 points scored against it. 

“They beat Raymond Terrace 56-nil, Kogarah 24-4, Monaro (Cooma) 40-3, Yanco 3-2 at Yanco and Maitland 22-5. Only two tries conceded.

“In the State Championship they beat Marcellin College Randwick 13-nil, Belmore High 27-nil, Vauclause 15-nil and in the final, Wollongong 8-3. The Wollongong side contained nine members of the NSW state team.

“They also beat the touring Queensland state team 10-2 before a huge crowd at No. 1 Oval.

“Seven of the players furthered their careers with Sydney clubs, four with Balmain (Ross, Watterson, Belford and Davis) two with Penrith (Lisle and Goodman) and Steve Winter with the then-Western Suburbs club.”

Later that year the Group 4 magazine also ran a piece on the 1964 side.

“This team was possibly the best ever to represent Tamworth High School. 

“Undefeated during the season, they won the coveted University Shield, the State Knock-out Championship in Sydney and then concluded the season with a great victory over the Queensland Open Weight side. During the year the team scored 558 points with only 36 against.

“The policy of the team at all times was to play bright, open football, with the ball going to the wingers at every available opportunity. The success of this policy can be clearly seen by the large number of tries scored by the flank men.”

The Group 4 article concluded with much the same information on the THS schoolboy side as Ken McKenzie’s Leader piece.

NEW Men Of League chief executive officer Corene Strauss might be a special guest of a gala dinner being held by the Tamworth branch of the Men Of League on October 11.

Kevin Robinson, president of the Tamworth branch, and secretary of the North West MOL, hopes the new female CEO will be able to attend the charity fundraiser in Blazes at Wests on that weekend.

“I met her at a recent MOL conference at Burleigh Heads and she seems very switched on,” Kevin Robinson told me.

“Hopefully she’ll be able to come up for our gala dinner. The dinner will also allow us to get all the committees at Moree, Gunnedah, Narrabri and Manilla together as well.”

He said funds raised would help the MOL support those “in our rugby league community who may be doing it tough and may need some support in coping with their problems”.

Tickets are $65 per head or $600 a table of 10. Tables of 10 can be reserved. Get your tickets from Wests (6765 7588).

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