John Boasden was on Old Techs’ committee for a staggering 75 years – having started out as fixtures secretary in 1946. He held that role for 44 years before moving on to be Techs’ club president in 1988 – a role he held until his death in February.
Due to Covid restrictions the Devon One club were unable to celebrate his life when he died and so arranged a special ‘President’s Day’ game on Saturday against city neighbours Plymouth Argaum to remember him.
Before the match, as he had requested, his ashes were scattered where he would stand to watch Techs play and there was a special buffet for his family and friends and then another celebration after the match.
Unfortunately, the game itself between the two Devon One clubs didn’t quite match the occasion, although it was competitive all the way through. The quality of rugby in the first half was not too bad in, but the contest lost its way in the second period. It become very stop-start with a host of penalties, knock-ons and poor kicking.
Argaum, who had been 10-0 down after 30 minutes, ended up winning 15-10, but neither club will be reading too much into the result.
The match went to uncontested scrums on 30 minutes after Argaum suffered an injury and that did change the momentum as Techs were dominating that area.
Both clubs also used the match to look at different players in different positions and there were even some guests pulling their boots on, including Joe and Adam Walker who donned Argaum shirts again for the game.
But what the pre-season match will have done is added a bit more spice to when the teams clash for league points on September 18.
“It was a really good day,” said Argaum coach Brett Stroud. “It was a great day for Old Techs and for John, who meant a lot to local rugby. He was a really good servant to the community and Old Techs.
“I think the day deserved to have to big local clubs going at it.
“At the end of the day we were here to front up and play well, which we did. I think we put on a good show. I think Old Techs will respect the fact that we turned up and made it a good game.
“But as I have set Argaum up, we want to win games and so at the end of the day I am happy we got the win. The boys all dug in. It was good.”
Techs coach Shaun Bedford-Smith said: “I just want to thank Argaum for coming down and giving us the game. They came down beforehand (for the scattering of ashes) as well, which was a really nice touch from them, and we had a really good crowd down there for John.”
On the game itself, Bedford-Smith said: “I thought in the first half we were fairly dominant – they were living off our mistakes and penalties a little bit. We were certainly dominating in the scrummaging but then it went to uncontested scrums after about 25 minutes and that changes the whole dynamics of the game then.”
He added: “We played Oaks on the Tuesday, trained Thursday and played again Saturday which is quite difficult. We had a different side out there trying a few different combinations, which is what you want to do pre-season.
“But it was a good run out – a good hard game. Fair play to Argaum, they came back at us and once they got that try and got their tails up.
“We’ll take the positives from the game and work on the negatives – mainly game management. We know what we have to work on.”
Techs went 10-0 ahead with two good drive tries by Rudi Baker before the game went to uncontested scrums.
Five minutes before half-time, Argaum closed the gap to 10-5 when Dave Shepherd scored from close range after Dan Smith was stopped just short after a really strong run.
Both sides picked up yellow cards in the second half – there was a worrying moment for Argaum when the referee initially pulled out a red but he quickly put it back into his pocket – and it didn’t look like there was going to be anymore scoring.
But 10 minutes from time, Jack Morris scored a long-range interception try. Although it looked like he might have knocked on as he went over the line, he was given the benefit of the doubt by the referee and Shepherd converted it to put his side in front for the first time.
And three minutes later Ali Joines kicked a penalty to seal the game for Argaum.
Meanwhile, fellow Devon One side Tamar Saracens continued their pre-season preparations with a 3-0 home defeat to Cornwall/Devon League side Veor.
“We played much better than last week (against Tavistock),” said director of rugby Pete Lethbridge. “Our scrumming and mauling was much better, we just lacked a bit of finishing.
“It was quite an even game but the disappointment was that we didn’t finish our moves in the 22.
“It was a bit frustrating but a much better display and a good work out.”