The Anti-Assassins Rugby Union Football (A-As) was founded in 1950 when three Old Sedberghians, Stewart Faulds, Geoff and Arthur Kenyon, were invited to pick a Northern team to play against the masters and Old Boys (The Assassins) of Sedbergh School, Cumbria. This invitation team carried on playing a variety of fixtures, mainly in the North, raising money for established charities, celebrating special club occasions and helping to develop rugby football at leading schools. Semper Mores Boni, (Good behaviour always), is the motto of the club!
One of the main priorities of the A-As’ committee, led by Monsieur le President Stewart Faulds, was to arrange tours to rugby playing locations all over the world. The A-As have over the years visited Australia, Canada, Dubai, East Africa, South Africa, USA and Trinidad for the Caribbean Sevens. More local destinations over the water include Galway, Isle of Man, Jersey and Ulster. Tours have also been undertaken to continental countries such as France, Holland, Italy and Spain.
The Anti-Assassins teamed up with Wooden Spoon in 2004 and the partnership has proved to be a great success. The Wooden Spoon A-As’ rugby team continues to play a mixture of traditional fixtures with matches against the Old Boys teams from Sedbergh, Kirkham, Giggleswick and Stonyhurst. Special matches against clubs in the North and other parts of the country are arranged to celebrate Anniversaries and openings etc. Last season the team also travelled to Cambridge University, Richmond and Taunton. New fixtures this season include the Royal Navy and a visit to Germany to play an Army team as well as a variety of Sevens tournaments.
An invitation to represent the A-As and now the Wooden Spoon Anti-Assassins has delighted many players, be they just good club men or seasoned Internationals, over the last six decades. Amongst the legion of distinguished players to wear the jersey are the likes of John Spencer and Peter Winterbottom, (England); Ian McGeechan and Peter Stagg, (Scotland); John O’Driscoll, (Ireland) and Bill Calcraft and Mark Ella, (Australia). The most recent International is David Strettle who played for England against Ireland at Croke Park last season, having been a member of the A-As’ squad that played in the Caribbean Sevens in 2001.
The Wooden Spoon Anti-Assassins’ membership now includes over 100 internationals and four Past Presidents of the RFU. Bill Beaumont, the Lions Manager in New Zealand in 2005 and recently appointed Vice Chairman of the iRB is one of our members. Malcolm Phillips, President of the RFU in 2005-2006 is the new Wooden Spoon A-As’ President.
The Wooden Spoon Veterans team (over 35s) was founded in 2005 as an off shoot of the Wooden Spoon Anti-Assassins to participate as a one off in the famous Dubai 10s. The team led by ex Irish international Paul Wallace was narrowly beaten in the quarter finals by the eventual winners, the Marauders but the awareness and funds raised provided the impetus for the team to become permanent.
On their second visit to Dubai, the squad, coached by Jon Eagle, the former Harlequins and Barbarian included several ex Anti Assassins’ players including play-maker and goal-kicker Dan Eddie, Jon Swarbrigg, Shaun Cassidy and Paul Stewart. Smooth-running England international Steve Ravenscroft captained the side which also included a cosmopolitan line up featuring Mark Giacheri (Italy – 48 caps), Brad Hepi (New Zealand Warriors) and Flo Rossigneaux (French Barbarians and France 7s). The team narrowly lost in the final in front of 35,000 people to The Warblers having beaten previous winners Marauders and the British Army during the rounds.
In 2007 the team has already played two tournaments winning convincingly in both Amsterdam and Kinsale, Ireland and the player base continues to go from strength to strength with a great number of former representative and senior club players keen give something back by playing the game they love and to help raise funds by representing Wooden Spoon.
The squad embark on another trip to Dubai in November 2007 with several members of last year’s team, including ex Barbarians and Bristol Captain Derek Eves, and ex England 7s Captain Mark Sowerby. They look forward to continuing their successful run.
|2005||Dubai International Veterans||Quarter-finalists|
|2006||Dubai International Veterans||Finalists|
|2007||Kinsale Invitational Ten's||Winners|
|2007||Amsterdam Invitational Ten's||Winners|
Wooden Spoon Women’s Rugby was conceived after a development team participated in the Dubai tournament last year, loosing in the quarter final. Since then the team has been expanded to include present and past internationals. All these players have chosen to play for the charity team as ambassadors for Wooden Spoon both on and off the pitch.
This year the team has played in the Heineken Kinsale Sevens, Heineken Amsterdam Sevens and the Kronenbourg Stockholm tens and won all three tournaments. It is hoped that the Wooden Spoon Women’s team will finish the year unbeaten with a successful campaign in Dubai.
The squad that has played in the previous three tournaments comprises very experienced players including the captain, former England fly-half, Susie Appleby and present England Captain, Sue Day as well as former internationals Assunta De Biase and Helen Clayton. Present players include IRB player of the year, Maggie Alphonsi, Welsh International, Non Evans, Scottish international Rhonda Shephard and Australian Broni Mackintosh. The team is coached by former scrum-half and World Cup winner, Emma Mitchell.
|Susie Appleby, England||Rachel Burford, England|
|Selena Rudge, England||Claire Flowers, Wales|
|Sue Day, England||Emily Cooke, England|
|Heather Fisher, England||Shannon Baker, England|
|Non Evans, Wales||Broni Mac, Australia|
|Sarah Marsh, England||Jo Yapp, England|
|Amy Garnett, England||Amber Penrith, England|
|Helen Clayton, England||Paula Chalmers, Scotland|
|Kim Oliver, England||Kim Shaylor, England|
|Danielle Waterman, England||Rhona Sheperd, Scotland|
|Assunta de Biase, England||Shelley Rae, England|
|Liza Burgess, Wales||Georgia Stevens, England|
|Karen Andrew, England||Rimma Petlevannaia, Scotland|
|Sarah Ulmer, Canada||Emma Mitchell England, Coach|
|Nicky Milne, Ireland||Claire Frost England, Coach|
|Maggie Alphonsi, England||Sarah Griffiths, Manager|
The Wooden Spoon Blues (formerly The Varsity Blues, winners of last year's Pentagon International Overseas Plate in Dubai) return this year to Dubai for the 7th consecutive year. The Varsity Blues touring rugby team, founded in 2001 by the former Cambridge Blue, Tony Dalwood, has this year joined forces with The Wooden Spoon and will be representing the Charity as their men's team in tournaments including Dubai, Amsterdam, Stockholm and Marbella.
The Blues were established as a global touring team playing in 7's and 10's rugby tournaments and since 2001 have competed in not only the Dubai 7's but also the Hong Kong 10's, the Kowloon 10's and the Kinsale 7's.
When first bursting onto the international 7's and 10's circuit in Dubai in 2001 the team comprised mainly former Cambridge and Oxford Blues players but over the years has expanded and now combines many young and exciting players along with more established players from not only the UK but also other parts of the world. For the last two years the former England 7's player Jaime Greenlees has played for the Blues as has the Hong Kong international Riaz Fredricks and the current Welsh 7's star, Gareth Chapman, Mark Bruce from the Irish 7's team and our young England Under 18 (capped against France) rising star, Joe Burford, who now plays full time for Bristol Shoguns. Both Joe and Jaime helped the team win the Overseas Plate last year in Dubai!
|2001||Dubai International Invitation||Quarter-finalists|
|2002||Dubai International Invitation||Quarter-finalists|
|2002||Kowloon 10's International Invitation||Runners-Up|
|2003||Dubai International Invitation||Quarter-finalists|
|2003||Hong Kong 10's International Invitation||Semi-finalists|
|2004||Hong Kong 10's International Invitation||Quarter-finalists|
|2004||Dubai International Overseas||Semi-finalists|
|2005||Dubai International Overseas||Semi-finalists|
|2006||Dubai International Overseas||Plate Winners|
The Wooden Spoon England Legends was formed last year by former England & British Lion, Steve Boyle who had been asked by Wooden Spoon to form a team to play against the Irish Legends prior to the historic Croke Park Six Nations fixture. Steve, a veteran of the defeat in Ireland which led to the formation of the ‘Spoon’, compiled a team of former internationals over the age of 35 who were prepared to dig out the boots to help support Wooden Spoon.
The opening fixture was a great success both on and off the pitch with the several hundred spectators giving generously to support Spoon and the game delivery a real battle of wills that was eventually won by the England Legends. The Legends team was captained by 1987 World Cup captain, Mike Harrison and ably assisted by former Gloucester and England player, Kev Dunn. The Ireland Legends was coached by Former Ireland International Paul Wallace and both teams comprised many players who have already run out on behalf of Spoon.
The objective for the future is to establish two or three regular fixtures against fellow Legends’ teams, giving ex internationals and hopefully some World Cup players, the opportunity to have some fun while supporting Spoon. The next fixture is being organized to celebrate 25 years since the conception of Wooden Spoon back in 1983 after England had lost to Ireland in the then Five Nations to ‘win’ the Wooden Spoon. Players from both those sides are being recruited to play the celebratory fixture at The Stoop on March 15th and join in a Dinner the evening before at the Lensbury in Teddington.
The Classic Lionesses were formed in 2001 in response to an invitation from the World Rugby Classic Committee in Bermuda to participate against the USA Golden Eagles in a curtain raiser test match to the Rugby Classic Men’s Final. Held in Bermuda, the Classic is now considered to be the senior's Rugby World Cup having attracted teams from all around the globe, and features some of the great rugby names such as Francois Pienaar, Martin Johnson, Joost van der Westhuizen who have recently retired from the international stage, providing a unique opportunity to be "up close and personal" with players who have been on the centre stage of world rugby.
So it was only right that the women’s internationalists from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland combined forces and complemented the men’s efforts. Players including England former captain, Gill Burns (82 caps), Scotland’s Donna Kennedy, the most capped female player with 90 appearances for her country, and Welsh prop forward Dawn Mason (50 caps), united under one banner to form the Classic Lionesses. The 2005 team had combined caps totalling 1795.
For the past four years the Lionesses have continued to accept the invitation to compete in what can only be described as one of the most exciting and high profile events in the world rugby calendar, and one which is seen around the world thanks to Sky, Fox Sports and Rugby World Magazine. At present the results stand at two wins a piece with the Golden Eagles, the focus this year being to come home with a win!
The Lionesses involvement and the women’s test match are now an integral part of the event which is viewed by over 6,000 people through the week, a fantastic opportunity to further raise awareness and gain support for Wooden Spoon. The charity, like the Lionesses, will undoubtedly enjoy the festival atmosphere of the Classics Tournament, the mix of rugby and post-match camaraderie - what the game of rugby is about. All of which make it one of the best weeks in the international sporting calendar and not one to be missed.