Blast From The Past – Shane Donaldson

Chiswick RFC former prop takes a trip down memory lane. In our weekly interviews with former players, we caught up with Shane Donaldson.

On a personal note, if you haven’t bought Shane a beer and chewed the fat over the history of the club of which Shane has a been a huge part of then please put it on your ‘to do list’ post lockdown. 

Name: Shane Donaldson

Years with Chiswick RFC: Not sure, all I know is that Hue Wainwright was 1st team captain and Paddy Cashin was 2nd team captain. I played mostly for the 2nd team in my early years at Chiswick and even had a cracking season with the 4th team made up with nearly all South Africans. David Goodenough and I being the only Brits in the team. I played my first 1st team game at the age of 35 and my last one at 47.

Clubs: Old Gaytonians RFC  (yes there really was a club with that name ) and Chiswick RFC, formerly old Meadonians RFC

Position: The best position on the pitch, loosehead prop. I could count on one hand the number of times I had to play at tighthead

Current role at Chiswick RFC: Still running out when I can for whatever team needs me and teaching young tightheads how to scrummage (just ask Gabe reference Thursday training, February 2020)

Most memorable Chiswick moment(s)?

The moments I hold in my memory are not necessarily the ones where finals or promotion games took place as every game was special (you’re a long time retired lads, make the most of the games you play ) but of moments during the game there a few that stand out.

One time Gavin Nichols Hooker was being wound up all week prior to the game about how his opposite number had said he would make mincemeat out of him. Tensions were high from kick off, we engaged at the first scrum and before the ball came in there was an almighty yell and the packs broke up into a few scuffles with the opposition hooker holding his face in his hands claiming Gavin had punched him. Gavin turned to the referee with a choir boy look on his face claiming it couldn’t have been me sir I was fully bound to my props, we all knew Gavin had done it and the opposition hooker was like a kitten for the rest of the game.

Another game a few years later when Jeremy Hill a second row/prop who had never scored a try in a competitive game. Jeremy desperately wanted a score and found himself amongst a heap of bodies, he picked the ball from the back of a ruck and seeing the white line dived over the white wash jumping up with shouts of jubilation of ‘I’ve scored, I’ve scored’! This was received with roars of laughter as Jeremy in his eagerness to score had placed the ball over the 5m line not the try line.

We had a very good player called. Eugene Grimes, a 2nd row or no 8 for a couple of seasons who went on to play a very good level after leaving the club. Eugene was a magnet for trouble and was as happy dishing it out as well as being on the receiving end, some might say he went looking for it. A home game v Hemel Hempstead who had twins playing at 6 and 7 for them who were told by their coach to target Eugene to get him red carded. Any time during the game trouble flared up it was the twins vs Eugene, when one tried it on the other would be there to get a shot in at Eugene and a few handbags were thrown by both teams. Half time came and one twin was substituted, from the kick off the ball was kicked long into our half the forwards back tracked until our full back gathered and kick it back to the opposition. On turning to follow the kick there was Eugene getting his retaliation in first on the remaining twin on the pitch shouting ‘where’s your f*****g brother now’?

Best player you played with at Chiswick?

This is a very difficult one to answer having played with so many good players, it would not be fair to single anyone out nor to mention a long list of players who were exceptional.

What was it like playing in the front row with Kelvin Campbell?

Most of the time I didn’t think he was there come scrum time 😉

I used to get all the massive Ugly looking props against me whilst kelvin would get the smaller novice props up against him. In truth I gained 200 caps playing with Kelvin as tighthead and in the days when it was all about big props we were a small front row but we made sure we got very very low and as a tighthead, Kelvin knew all the tricks in the book. 

We were a formidable unit with a partnership of over 200 games it was a pleasure to play alongside him.

What do you wish to see from Chiswick RFC in the future?

For the club to be the best they can be from minis through to committee.

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