Fri 26 Mar 2021 15:38

It is my sad duty to inform you that Steve Watson has passed away after a short illness. Steve was a former player, Captain and President for Shire Hall and was one of the driving forces behind the introduction of the VPs. After his playing career ended, he could be seen at most matches, both home and away. He was prepared to support the club wherever the game, be it local in Berkshire or further afield in the depths of Dorset. Most recently, he was only able to attend home matches, but he was still behind the supply of thirst quenching drinks that the players quaffed after a game.

As a player, he was a fearless full back whose tackling was supreme. It did not matter how big his opponent was, he would have a go and try to bring them down. Some may call this attitude foolhardy – I would say brave! He supported may of our early tours, both in the UK and abroad. How he fell for the 3 man lift in Amsterdam still beggars belief!! He would always say that he was just joining in the spirit! One particular game sticks in my mind. After an absolute hammering at Farnborough in the early ‘80s, the mood in the changing room was positively gloomy. Typically Steve thought it was a great game as he had so much tackling to do!

Former player and current Club Sponsor Steve Field recalls asking Steve why he was always so happy. His response: “This might be my last day so I want to enjoy it!” Former Club Captain and coach Geraint Thomas remembers Steve as a true clubman and even during his illness over the last few years, he looked outside of himself to help others: in particular raising awareness and fund raising for Berkshire Cystic Fibrosis. We will all miss his endless emails containing jokes in order to gain our sponsorship. Former player and Club Chairman Roger Griffiths, speaking from Canada, remembers the many hours that Steve invested in the club behind the scenes for over 30 years. Steve was very much the seeker of merriment with his VP cronies, an initiative that both Steve and Dave Sanders created. Roger recalls Steve’s knowledge of first aid being innovative. If you came off the pitch for first aid or a blood injury, it was Steve who came over to see how you were doing and make you drink warm port or a pint on the sidelines prior to your return to the field. That was the sum of Steve’s first aid knowledge – alcohol mends everything ! Roger also recalls Steve’s superior knowledge of the laws of the game and would often be heard advising the referee – he would even suggest to the referee before the game that if he wanted help, Steve would be the person to contact.

We have lost a funny, selfless, dedicated support of club rugby and, in particular, Shire Hall. Quite simply, Steve was a thoroughly decent human being. We can imagine that Steve, Paddy Ringrow and Dave Sanders are up there, talking to anyone who will listen how good they were back in the day.

Bless you Steve and you all you did for Shire Hall Rugby Club. Our thoughts are with Dianne and Ben at this difficult time.

Jerry Godfrey
Shire Hall RFC