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First OB Rugby Club match and dinner in memory of Thomas Nelson

On Saturday 22 October we were delighted to welcome back Old Bryanstonians and the Sherborne Pilgrims to Bryanston for our first old boys' rugby match and dinner.

This special day was in memory of OB Thomas Nelson, who passed away on the same date last year and all monies raised from the day went to Julia's House Hospice, the charity chosen by the Nelson family.

The weather was certainly on our side when both teams met in what we hope will be the first of many encounters.  There was a big crowd of parents, old boys and friends who watched a splendid match which brought back memories of how these men had shone when they played as boys on the same pitch.  It was a very competitive match and very physical, with the Bryanston team being led in that department by Martin Bolton, Jon Vickers and Archie Stead. Early on Sherborne were camped in the Bryanston half and one could see that having played together before there was far more early understanding of each other's play.  However, slowly but surely, Bryanston worked their way into the game and gained both ground and forward dominance.  At half time Bryanston led 7-0 but straight after half time Sherborne replied with an equalising try and it was 7-7.  However, some great back play inspired by George Drake at 10 and Guy Ridley at 15 saw Bryanston score four more tries in the second half through Andy Robling, James Duckett, Tom Vaughan-Edwards and Barney Nelson. It was a wonderful occasion and a great tribute to Tom Nelson who would have loved to play in the game himself.  The final score was 29-7.

After a wonderful afternoon of some great rugby, everyone returned to Bryanston in the evening for a drinks reception followed by a three-course dinner.  During the dinner we heard from Mike Pyrgos, Seb Lear (Captain of the OB rugby club) and Barney Nelson on behalf of the Nelson Family.  On the night we held a silent auction with all the prizes being donated by the Nelson family and OBs. The auction itself raised a staggering £3,710 and with donations from Thomas' friends in Hong Kong, gift envelopes on the tables and ticket sales in total we raised over £5,700 for Julia's House in memory of Thomas.  

It was announced at dinner by Barney that both sides have agreed this will now become an annual fixture in memory of Thomas and will take place at Sherborne next year.  Barney also presented The Thomas Nelson Memorial Cup to the captain of the winning team, Bryanston!

You can view photos from the match and dinner here.