Dai Duckham and the All Whites of '66

By Dave Dow | 30/10/2016

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The All Whites Former Players' Association held their Annual Dinner in the St Helen's Lounge on Friday 28th October. As well as a celebration of the strong bond between the former players at the Swansea club, it was also an opportunity to mark a unique anniversary. It was fifty years ago that Swansea defeated Australia at St Helen's for the second of three occasions that they have achieved this feat.

Fourteen of the players from the famous win on 26th November 1966 are still with us, Swansea, Wales and Lions wing Dewi Bebb having passed away. Twelve of these Swansea heroes were present on the evening and were accorded the honour of being cheered in last of all when the players sat to dinner.

After an excellent dinner thanks to the staff of JR Catering, the AWFPA Chairman Terry Morgan introduced the Special Guest Speaker, who was Coventry, England, Lions and Babas David Duckham MBE, a wing and centre of exceptional talent whose play has always resonated with Welsh rugby supporters. David addressed a packed St Helen's Lounge. So fully was the dinner booked in fact, that the annex room beside the bar was also used, those seated there coming to the bar when David commenced his talk. Newer members of the AWFPA were also very much in evidence, Alex Lawson, Noel Thomas, Steffan Edwards and Gareth Jones all swelling the numbers to nearly 150 for the night. 

A variety of stories and reminiscences from his career were offered by David, including encounters with a number of well known rugby characters. David was pleased to be able to meet several former players who he had played against including John and Stuart Davies, John Evans, Martin Bottomley and Geoff Wheel, the latter of whom he sat next to for the evening. Duckham's enthusiastic contribution to the evening put a smile on everyone's faces and  was warmly received by all the guests.

Another former player honoured during the evening was Keith Liddell of the Swansea Athletic who was presented with a Swansea jersey and a specially commissioned framed cartoon in appreciation of the tremendous support he has given to the AWFPA over the years.

Last Season's AWFPA Player of the Year from the current Swansea squad was Andrew Claypole and, as is their custom, he was invited to the Annual Dinner on Friday to receive his award. This is traditionally presented by the Special Guest Speaker. But with the evening being dedicated to the victorious 1966 Swansea team, it was the surviving wing from that win over Australia, David Weaver, who presented Andrew Claypole with his AWFPA plaque.

With formalities over, the guests were able to get together in ever changing groups and reacquaint themselves well into the night.

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