Back in the late 1970’s, or was it the early 80’s, memories fade, one of HRUFC’s great characters finally hung up his rugby boots. Terry Cole ended his playing days as scrum half for the ‘Extra C’ team.
The step down into the ranks of the club’s sixth team for the former club captain had been by no means an ignominious one. Many of the club’s finest athletes, including former county players and rugby league internationals, have chosen to take their bow in a team that became something of an institution. Aging rock stars finally taking their place in rugby’s ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’.
Rugby with the Extra C was played purely for fun and Terry’s contribution to the enjoyment of the game by the team was a large one. Although the team didn’t believe in training, regarding practise as tantamount to cheating, the rugby was taken seriously but it was the post-match for which the team became particularly renowned, win or lose celebrating their time together with gusto.
On the occasion of his retirement from the game Terry was presented with a trophy by his team mates. A large one, garish! (pictured with Terry below) The inscription on it reads, ‘To mark the sad but overdue departure of Terry Cole from the ranks of the Extra C team and by way of a thank you for all the morale boosting absurdity for which he was famed together with his majestic leadership of the Extra C choir.’
Ken Jagger was the captain of the Extra C at the time. ‘Terry’s last full game was against the inmates and warders of Wetherby Borstal. A glamorous fixture! They were no match for the Extra C and were duly hammered 40 points to 4, no doubt in no small way due to Terry having them in fits of laughter throughout the game with his repartee.’
‘He got badly injured in the annual Boxing Day fixture against Roy Blackburn’s ‘All Stars’ and had to finish playing after that. Thankfully he stayed around to lead the choir. His solos of The Cuckoo Song, Angeline and As The Moon Shines On The Water will never be forgotten by those fortunate enough to be involved with the Extra C at the time.’
‘It would be wrong though to think that Terry was just known for his singing and banter. He was a very good player. His famous ‘triple bounce pass’ was something even the great Gareth Edwards never mastered.’
‘From a personal point of view those years in the late 70’s were the most memorable and fun in all my years of playing rugby and Terry was a major part of that.’
Terry’s swan song in the Extra C was a harmonious happenstance, a consummate meshing of a rugby philosophy and player personality in a joyful era for the team. The Extra C soldiered on long after Terry’s time, well into the 21st century. In its latter days the team became the club vets side but its raison d’etre never faltered. It eventually folded in 2010, the final curtain bringing to an end an era of old school, old boy’s rugby at HRUFC which is still remembered with genuine affection.
Today Terry himself is in frail health, suffering from Progressive Supra Nuclear Palsy (PSP) and is being cared for at home by wife Anne with visiting nursing support. At the time of his retirement from the game he was working as a regional manager for GlaxoSmithKline plc.
After his retirement from the pharmaceutical company Terry became the original Lockwood Park Volunteer, coming down to the club during the day to make himself useful and give something back to the club which had given him so much in his playing days. On match days he donned his fishing waders to retrieve stray rugby balls from the adjacent River Holme, an activity he finally decided he was too old for after nearly being swept away to Cooper Bridge when the river was in spate.
Terry remains a passionate supporter of all our teams and until his PSP symptoms became too severe he was a regular in the centre stand on first team match days. With his witty banter and unique shouts of support for the lads, ‘they certainly do not like it up’em Captain Mainwaring,’ he brought fun and laughter to Lockwood Park on Saturday afternoons.
Back in the day the published Extra C team sheet was often a work of fiction, with pseudonyms being used for former rugby league players in the age of rugby segregation, along with various humorous additions. On one notable occasion, the team printed in Friday night’s Examiner contained the names of the entire club committee, much to the amusement of most and the annoyance of the more seriously minded few. Touch wood though here is the rest of the Extra C ‘choir’ at the time of Terry’s departure…A L Melia, B Starbuck, K Ellis, K Jagger, S Dawson, D Giblin, P Giblin, W Hargreaves, S Pickles, T Hill, R Wood, D Raby, G Crompton, H Pearson, P Hardcastle, G Bargh, R Brabiner, R Bottomley, J Clay, J Thomas.
Terry Cole is a Honorary Life Member of Huddersfield RUFC.