THE Whiteway played host to a great day of rugby last Saturday when a match was played in memory of Major Chris Cox, a past South Cerney-based RLC officer who captained Cirencester RFC in the early 2000s, but was tragically killed in an accident in Germany in 2004.

Chris Cox Memorial Match

Cirencester RFC Vets 36

RLC Millennium Tour Vets 24

The regiment and rugby club, who maintain close links, in tandem with Chris’s widow Katie and other family members, arranged the celebratory vets’ match to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his death.

The match featuring 40 plus players was played in front of a large crowd in bright May sunshine.

Two well-matched sides of genuine veterans ranging from 35 to 59 years of age were pitted against each other and they displayed that their rugby talents and enthusiasm remain intact despite the slight loss of pace and athleticism along with a slight gain in pounds and grey hair.

Top RFU referee Eric Bullion officiated with empathy.

Highlights included the 'celebrity kick-off' from Major Alan Tindale, who is recovering from serious illness, and a brief 'not to be tackled' cameo appearance from Cirencester’s Taz Taylor.

The match also doubled as the final on-the-field appearance of Cirencester’s David Doyle and Neil Owen and the re-appearance of RLC’s Major Chris Christophers, who had represented both Hong Kong and Cyprus at his rugby-playing pinnacle, and Cirencester’s flying full back Chris Priestner, who belied his years with several powerful runs into the heart of the opposition.

The score was always close and it was only in the final minutes that the host team pulled convincingly ahead following a Barbarians-style handling move featuring Simon Collyer-Bristow, Richie Lewis, Paul Weavin, Lee Marshall, Chris Thorn, John Newman and Adam Seager before being finished off under the posts by Alex 'Popeye' Buchalik to loud applause.

Other try-scorers were: Seager, Marshall, Thorn, Buchalik and Owen.

Man of the Match: Seager (three conversions).

Cirencester RFC Vets Squad: Owen (capt), Collyer-Bristow, L Williams, Marshall (guest), R Williams, Thorn, Doyle, Newman, Shrimpton, Seager, Buchalik, Weavin, Lewis (guest), Waddell, Priestner, Thompson, Stewart, Thompstone, Goldstone, Hammond (guest), Vaughan, Stubley.