On the 24th November 2021 two hundred Dragon boys gathered on the courts before they started their walk through North Oxford to Summer Fields 101 years after the first rugby fixture between the two prep schools (sadly last year it could not be played due to the pandemic). This fixture is one of the oldest in school rugby and to mark the occasion the U13A match was played with a vintage leather rugby ball.
Mr McNeile, the Dragon’s Head of Rugby, was a pupil at Summer Fields and his father taught there for over 30 years and coached the 1st XV. It was a particularly emotional day for both of them to watch this historic moment together.
The Dragon archives contain a photograph of the 1st XV Dragon team from a century ago which includes Bernard Gadney who went on to play scrum-half for Leicester Tigers and the British Lions. He won 14 England caps between 1932 and 1938 and was captain on eight occasions. His brother, Cyril Gadney, was an international rugby referee and President of the RFU.
In a lovely turn of events, Bernard Gadney’s great-grandson scored on the first team pitch yesterday in his final year at Dragon School.
The Dragon U13A Captain and Gadney presented Summer Fields with a plaque to commemorate the long association between the two schools.
Dragon Team 1921
Dragon Team 2021
The walk to Summer Fields
Mr Allen ready to referee
Mr McNeile and his father
Mr McNeile as a boy at Summer Fields
Emma Goldsmith, Head of the Dragon, enjoyed the historic event
David Faber, Headmaster of Summer Fields, receives the commemorative plaque