1948/49 Season

As Old Lutonians approached their third season (1948-49), Bill Shepherd was elected as captain for the third time, whilst Ron Mead continued to captain the fledgling ‘A’ XV. For the new season, the Old Boys had secured fixtures against the 1st XVs of Aylesbury, De Havilland and Luton for the first time, as well as a prestigious game away at St Mary’s College.

 Since the end of the previous season, there had been some significant with the National Health Service starting to operate, the end of bread rationing, and the arrival of HMT Empire Windrush. The London Olympics, in July and August, featured Old Lutonians RFC’s, Morville Chote, who threw the javelin 54.84 metres to finish in 19th place.

Old Lutonians started their season earlier than in the previous years, and on 11th September 1948 travelled away to RAF Halton, where they lost 8-6. The strap-line was ‘Old Boys Finished Two Men Short’, Chote having been injured in the first half and Norman in the second. At this time substitutes were not allowed.

In the local derbies with Vauxhall Motors honours were even, each club winning one match, whilst the Old Boys lost 5-3 in their annual fixture with the school. Easter provided an opportunity to determine local bragging rights; these went to Luton, who won this first ever first team match 19-6 on the Saturday. Then on Easter Monday, Old Lutonians played their final match of the season, away against Old Dunstablians, which the Luton News reported under the headline, ‘Luton Triumph In Old Boys’ Battle’. The final score was Old Dunstablians 3 Old Lutonians 8. ‘This Bank Holiday game was as keenly contested as might be expected from the meeting of two clubs with a tradition of school rivalry behind them. With the wind in the first half, Old Lutonians looked more constructive than the home side and crossed over with a lead that proved to be decisive. Marshall scoring after good work by Cameron and Jeffs. The Dunstable side replied from a penalty kick, but with the wind advantage in the second half were unable to catch up.’

Old Lutonians played thirty matches, winning seventeen and drawing five. They scored 263 points and conceded 147. Bill Shepherd was the highest points scorer, whilst the top try scorers were Tony Jeffs and Harry Lynn.

The club entered two teams in the Vauxhall Sevens, a prestigious competition for many years, and the winning seven was represented by entirely by players featured in the Grammar School team from the previous season – PJ Allen, Stuart Cameron, Aubrey Ironmonger, Ron Kelly, MR Pattenden and Dudley Wood, who in later life was Secretary of the RFU. The second seven included future club stalwarts Dickie Packwood and Hugh Swallow, who after his playing days applied needle and cotton to many a match-day wound.

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