Welshpool Rugby Club has been going for 40 years. Last night the Club held an anniversary dinner to celebrate. I proposed the toast to the guests, while the great 70s megastar, Mervyn Davies responded. When the Club was formed, I was playing my rugby with Shrewsbury, in the Midlands and North of England - but I moved to play for Welshpool two or three years later because of work and family commitments. Such happy memories. Such long term friendships. I am usually asked to speak at anniversaries - and its always a great honour.
Before I spoke last night, Club Patron, Ithel Gilbert Davies made a very nice speech. Ithel is rather special to us all, in that he has suffered from polio for as long as I have known him. He has always been a real champion of the club. I joked that he was the only one we always had to carry into the pub!
During his speech he recited that hoary old joke about three surgeons discussing what group of patients they liked to operate on. One said Germans - became every moving part is so well engineered and reliable. One said Japanese - because everything is so technically advanced and all the tubes and wires are colour coded. And the third one said politicians - because they only have two working parts, the mouth and the anus, - and they're interchangeable. Brought the house down of course. I was toying with the idea of starting off my speech by telling the assembled diners (who had had a few by this stage) that since my lower bowel re-section following colorectal cancer almost 5 years ago, I don't actually have an anus. But I decided against. Thought it might put a dampener on things.
Best laugh of the night for me involved another hoary old joke from Mervyn. He was talking generally about the limited IQ of the Welsh forwards in the great 70s team (fabled but probably untrue - but who cares). Supposedly when Phil Bennett came in to partner Gareth Edwards behind the scrum, he developed a code which informed everyone which way he intended to take play if the ball was won. For some reason (which I don't recall), if he shouted out a word beginning with a P, he intended to go to the right - and if he shouted out a word that began with the letter S, he intended to go to the left. And everything worked well until Phil shouted out the word 'Psychology'. It usually takes forwards a few seconds - but backs get it immediately! Now I've heard this before so I took my enjoyment from everyone else's pleasure.
There followed a lot of whispering on the next table - and after about 40 seconds, when Mervyn was half way through his next story, a big bloke on the next table, who looked like a prop began roaring with laughter. For me it was the funniest moment of the night.