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SOMERSET COUNTY XV  

 


Tony Reed Western Counties V Wallabies 1957

" John Brown had the finest game I have ever seen him play. He was certainty itself in his handling of the greasy ball and played a major role in the two brilliant tries. Moreover, his defence was extremely sound and I vividly recall two great side on tackles of Morton the Wallaby right wing."

 

HJC played 19 times for Somerset until he decided to change to his County of birth, Middlesex, when he took up his first teaching appointment in London. Somerset were peeved to say the least, and complained to the Rugby Union about him being ‘poached’ by Middlesex. As a result HJC had to present his Birth Certificate to Cyril Gadney at Twickenham HQ to establish the truth.

 

PAT MARSHALL - Middlesex v Kent

“ John Brown ( Blackheath ) a muscular centre making his County debut, masterminded Middlesex to their 7 try rout of Kent. Brown schemed countless openings and the only try he had no hand in was the first “

 
Every season, Somerset played Middlesex in a friendly alternately at Bath or Richmond. HJC returned to Bath with Middlesex the next season and received a deliberate punch in the left eye from one of his former team mates. He says ‘In truth I sidestepped into the punch and did not see it coming!’ The culprit has now passed away so not to speak ill of the dead, he will not be named. Travelling back to London that night HJC went straight to Moorfields Eye Hospital to discover that the blow had caused a cataract still with him to this day. As an amateur game, no payments were ever received, simply basic expenses. Players had to provide their own boots, shorts and socks and even had to ‘pay to play’ – at this time it was ‘half a crown’ (12.5p in new money). This was supposedly to pay for the ‘Tea’ for the opponents that day.

 


Bob Hatsell Somerset Trial

" I liked the polished performance of H J C Brown at outside half. The way he danced through the ankle-deep grass was a sight for sore eyes "

 

 

ROY McKelvie - Middlesex v Kent

“ Chunky Brown repeatedly sidestepped and accelerated his way through the Kent defence and helped himself to two tries”

 

NATIONAL SERVICE

Combined Services arrive in Lyon to the tune of 'Rule Britania, Marmalade & Jam
They told the French press the were singing an old Welsh hymn - 'le chant gallois'

HJC joined the Royal Signals Regiment in April 1954 for basic training at Catterick where he met and played with Reg Higgins (England wing forward) and Phil Jackson (Great Britain Rugby League centre). Selected whilst there for the Combined Services XV he made his first trip to France to play Les Enseignants de France (teachers) at Lyon for whom Lucien Mias the French XV forward starred. HJC later trained as a ‘Special Operator’ and spent 18 months in Germany listening in to Russian radio transmissions before returning to Northampton in April 1956 to continue his career. Soon, deciding that factory life was not for him, he gained entry to St. Luke’s College, Exeter in September 1956 to train as a teacher.
In June 1956 he asked the Bursar for the application for the application forms only to be told ‘No vacancies for 3 years’. A phone call to the then St. Luke’s captain Brian Sparkes (Wales) resulted in the forms being received by return of post and entry 3 months later. Principal of the college was James Smeall, a rugby man through and through.

 

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