Bert Fensome took over as captain in 1949, and led the club through a hugely successful season, which announced that Old Lutonians were now a force to be reckoned with across the area.
It was the season that witnessed the establishment of John Muse and George Thorpe, who were to become Old Lutonians legends. Pat Heanue continued to make an impact when not playing for Bedford or the East Midlands, whilst some talented younger players, such as John Heanue, Aubrey Ironmonger and Dudley Wood made appearances for the club. The fixture list now included Old Herfordians, Old Verulamians, Charing Cross Hospital, Park House and Imperial College, and the club now ran three sides.
The final season of the decade started on 10th September 1949 with an away win by 8-0 at RAF Henlow, and The Luton News reported the RAF Henlow match under the strap-line, ‘Old Lutonians Had A Happy First Landing’. The final matches in September were greeted by the headline, ‘Old Boys Carried All Before Them’. On 24th September, ‘Old Lutonians had a good day on Saturday – all three of their teams winning comfortably’.
In December Old Lutonians beat the school 41-0, and on Christmas Eve overcame the ‘Valiant Effort By The O.D.’s’ at Bull Pond Lane, Dunstable, and the Old Boys still remained undefeated at Christmas, having scored 209 points and conceded only 24.
‘End Of A Great Run Of Success’ announced the Luton News, reporting on Old Lutonians’ 3-5 defeat at home to Old Cantabrigians on 14th January 1950. ‘After a winning sequence of 18 games, Old Lutonians were narrowly beaten – by a successful conversion kick – for the first time this season.’ Later in the season, the Old Boys were able to avenge this defeat, with a win in the away fixture.
The local derby with Vauxhall was, as ever, hard fought, with OLs winning 6-3 in a match which was played at a cracking pace, and under ideal conditions. April Fools’ Day heralded a ‘Keen, Clean Local Derby’; it is interesting perhaps that it was necessary to state that on this occasion the ‘derby’ was clean. The Old Boys secured local bragging rights with a 14-0 victory at Stockwood Park. ‘Old Lutonians, playing one of their most keenly anticipated games of the season – their ‘derby’ with Luton – proved their superiority in a game in which enthusiasm never developed into lawlessness. This freedom from incident was due mainly to an extremely firm referee, wisely supplied by the East Midlands Association, and welcomed by both clubs.’
Having beaten Old Dunstablians for the second time in the season, Old Lutonians went on to win the Vauxhall Sevens for the second successive year.
Old Lutonians played thirty-two matches, winning thirty-one. The top points scorer was John Muse with 89 from 3 tries, 8 penalties and 28 conversions. The highest try scorer was George Thorpe with an astonishing 14 in 15 appearances, followed by Pat Heanue with 10 from 18 appearances (an impressive return for a second row). Entering the new decade things were looking very promising for the club.
If anyone is interested in obtaining a copy of Old Lutonians; The Fledgling years for £10 please email nick_Powley@hotmail.com