Soccer -vs- Rugby

Soccer/Rugby at Senior Level at Gateshead Secondary/Grammar School was a game of three halves

For the first 53 years from 1894 until 1946-47 football had the winter school field to itself, to the total exclusion of rugby

Rugby was introduced to the school in 1947. For the next 13 years from 1947 to, say,1960 rugby and football had to compete for players from a year group of only 60 boys (1956 was the first intake of 120 boys but it took time for them to reach senior level)

Football at a senior level was not played in the 2 years from 49-51 and the 4 years from 56-60. Possible reasons, beyond the obvious thin spreading of talent from a small pool of potential players are the lack of the use of the school field in the early part of the decade and the influence of the strong willed pro rugby teacher J M L Mock in the latter period.

For the next 7 years from 1961 to 1967, (when the school ceased to be a grammar school) rugby and football co-existed happily

Until this website had a decent amount of pooled memories and memorabilia, former pupils only had their own limited window of experience to draw upon. We now have the bigger picture and it is clear that in the Football vs. Rugby match, the clear winner is Football by its 67 years of play to Rugby’s mere 20 years although it is fair to say that once Rugby had made its 124 year journey from Rugby to Gateshead it became the favoured one, certainly during that difficult middle period

(J M L Mock went to Heathfield Grammar School in 1961 and continued to be involved in the rugby. In 1995 he was awarded)