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Flashback Friday – Rugby & Thievery

This week we’ve opted out of #ThrowbackThursday so we can reminisce on Friday instead. Today is National Sporting Heritage Day 2016.

We asked our talented team of archivists to pull something sporty out of the bag for us and they came up with a cracker; a tongue-in-cheek tale of a man ‘pretending’ to be drunk and rugby players fending off thieves! So, the story goes like this:

 “Here is an example of how useful to a man in civil life Sports and Pastimes may prove, on an emergency.  A Birmingham thief had a rather unpleasant experience in St. Philip’s Churchyard a few days ago.  A party of Rugby footballers, who had been visiting the city, were returning to their hotel shortly after eleven o’clock, when one of them, who was walking in front, in a jocular mood, feigned the role of a drunken man.  Just as he was in the shadow of the church entrance he received a violent blow on the jaw, and his gold chain and several medals were snatched by a stranger, who had evidently been lying in wait for unwary pedestrians.  The assaulted footballer was knocked down, but the incident was witnessed by his companions, who set off in pursuit of the thief.  As footballers they, of course, knew how to run, and the foremost of the party, on coming up with the man, adopted “Rugby” tactics, and catching the fellow by the leg, caused him not only to come to a standstill, but also to turn a somersault …”

There you have it… this year’s 7’s are looking a little bit dull in comparison now!

 

Extracted from:

Sports and Pastimes Prompter

Berwick-upon-Tweed, December 31, 1903

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