Sam Doble, fullback for Moseley and England, died thirty five years ago today. He was 33. The club house at Billesley is in part a shrine to the man with several photographs and the programme from the Memorial Match played at The Reddings shortly after his death. A look at the line ups is a sign of the regard everyone at the highest levels of the game had for him.
Rugby is a different game now and the changes have not necessarily been for the better. When backs are bigger than props were in Sam’s day and a lot of Premiership games are mind numbing (and bone breaking) physical battles, flair and grace are at a premium. The attraction of Rugby Union is that, at its best, it combines the beauty of the rapier with the power of the bludgeon. A consequence of professionalism is that the balance of the two has been lost. Would Phil Bennett and Gareth Edwards have a place in the modern game?
On the other hand Sam would be happy to see that Moseley survived the traumatic years around the turn of the century and remain committed to attacking running rugby, happy too that Mose supporters observe the old fashioned courtesies such as silence before an opponent’s kick, that seem to have gone out of fashion elsewhere.
What a shame that the developers who built houses on the site of The Reddings were so unimaginative as to name the development Twickenham Drive. I call on them to rename it Sam Doble Drive and mark this anniversary in the proper way.