Sun 21 Jun 2020 22:17

Amateur rugby is hugely reliant on the loyalty and committment of its players, especially with the growing pressures of modern life, so when players commit to a century of appearances for their club, it should be acknowledged, which is why we have set up the 100 and 200 Clubs.

Antony 'Monk' Marris : 103 appearances - 2009-2016

Debut Season: 2009/10

Appearances: 103

Points: 80

Tries: 16

Yellows: 13 (almost certainly more)

Monk was an incredibly physical and aggressive prop that struck fear into oppositions with his powerful running, thumping hits and menacing stare.

Blooded at a young age in the 1st XV, Monk was arguably the standout performer in the 1st XV in Ian Jeffreys' absence during the first half of the 2010s, as his rampaging charges and dominant tackles made him feared amongst oppositions.

Currently testing himself at Redingensians, hopefully Monk will return to the Cullis soon to cement his status as a Wallingford great.

Tom Swainston : 107 appearances - 2013-2020

Debut Season: 2014/15

Appearances: 107

Points: 108

Tries: 14

Conversions: 10

Penalties: 6

Yellows: 0

Tom 'King of the North' Swainston has been a pivotal player in the 1st XV since arriving in 2014. At a time when Wallingford were desperately short of fly-halves, Tom, a scrum-half but versatile enough to play at ten, made a huge difference to an under-achieving side.

Whilst physically Tom falls into the cross-country runner category, his skillset, communication, game management and ability to catch Phil Dawes' passes have made him an invaluable member of the team, and provided much needed consistency in the half back area.

Not a bad bloke either.

Jack Greenway: 109 appearances - 2012-2020

Debut Season: 2012/13

Appearances: 109

Points: 30

Tries: 6

Conversions: 0

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 11

Jack is a rare breed. A strange hybrid of an old school and new school prop - incredibly physical and aggressive with little regard for his own well-being, but also very athletic and mobile around the park who carried as much as any back-row forward.

Despite a gruelling day job on the farm, Jack was always a reliable teammate who always did his utmost to make himself available, regardless of how much his body was creaking.

Off the pitch Jack was arguably the biggest character in a team of strangely entertaining characters - belying his middle-class upbringing, Jack thrived on playing the role of the wrong'un, often turning up to training covered in the proverbial pig sh!t and recounting his bizarre stories of the night before.

Jack is currently enjoying a couple of years farming in Australia, but hopefully he'll be back at Wallingford to continue his enteraining career.

Dan Sadler: 110 appearances - 2011-2020

Debut Season: 2011/12

Appearances: 110

Points: 229

Tries: 45

Conversions: 2

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 4

If Henry Venners is regarded as the best full back in the history of Wallingford Rugby Club, then Dan Sadler can't be far behind him.

Alongside Ian Jeffreys, Dan has been the most consistent player in the Wallingford side over the last decade - flawless under the high ball, elusive in attack and absolutely fearless in defence.

His scoring record of 45 tries in 110 appearances speaks for itself, especially when you take into account that Wallingford struggled for the first half of Dan's career.

James Norris : 139 appearances - 2011-2020

Debut Season: 2010/11

Appearances: 139

Points: 150

Tries: 30

Yellows: 5

It could be argued that James has been a little taken for granted as a player over the years, but there is no doubt that Wallingford are a better side when he is in the side.

An incredibly tough and nuggety player, James' influence on matches can often go under the radar, whether it be stopping opposition players in their tracks with his solid hits, ripping the ball out of a seemingly inpenetrable maul, or burrowing over the try line for one of his trademark one yard finishes.

Now the captain of the 1st XV, James has always been one of the most loyal and committed players in the team, and as much as we hate to admit it, he is actually well liked and respected by his team-mates.

Phil Dawes : 133 appearances - 2011-2019

Debut Season: 2011/12

Appearances: 133

Points: 540

Tries: 5

Conversions: 136

Penalties: 81

Yellows: 4

Whilst the 2010s were a challenging decade for the club on the pitch with a conveyor belt of players coming and going, one of the constants was the presence of Phil Dawes in the side.

A reliable scrum-half who developed his kicking game throughout his career, Phil won many a game at the death with his reliable kicking, and currently sits third on the list of all-time point scorers for the 1st XV.

In defence Phil has been a student of the matador school of tackling, and is prould of the fact that he holds the record for the least tackles made in a 1st XV career - zero.

Off the pitch, Phil is a pretty funny bloke, whose specialist subject is the mocking of his old mate James Norris, who secretly loves it.

Jermaine Webster : 102 appearances - 2008-2017

Debut Season: 2008/09

Appearances: 102

Points: 80

Tries: 16

Conversions: 0

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 2

After stints as 2nd XV captain and with Reading Abbey, Jermaine returned to Wallingford to enjoy a successful spell in the 1st XV, including three seasons as captain.

As a player Jermaine was a powerful runner from no.8 and occassionally second row, with a good engine for a big man. As a captain he was a calming influence on the side whose biggest strength was probably his management of the officials, something that can have a big influence on matches.

Jermaine played rugby for the sport, not so much the social side, and being tee-total meant that he didn't always join in on the post-match shenanigans, but that took nothing away from the respect and appreciation he got from this team-mates.

Dorian Jenkins : 100 appearances - 2003-2011

Debut Season: 2003/04

Appearances: 100

Points: 5

Tries: 1

Conversions: 0

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 5

Dorian was a key factor in the success of the Wallingford pack in the 2000s - a born line-out jumper, an excellent engine to get around the park, and a general nuisance on the pitch.

Among a pack of heavyweights that included the 20 stoners of Mike Turner, Bungle, Ed Jenkins and Paul Lewis, the light-weight Dorian was the perfect foil - easy to throw up in the line-out and the mobility and skills of a back-row, in many ways was the unsung hero of a dominant pack during the 2000s.

On the pitch, he was the king of niggle, but off the pitch, Dorian is a contender for nicest bloke at the club, a true gent.

Conner Murphy : 113 appearances - 2014-2020

Debut Season: 2014/15

Appearances: 110

Points: 35

Tries: 7

Conversions: 0

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 1

As much as Wallingford has struggled with the transition of colts to seniors over the last decade, Conner is one of the few examples of it working perfectly.

Since stepping up from the colts, Conner's commitment to training and playing has been second to none, and has seen him become one of the most reliable and respected players in the squad, even at such a young age.

Though not the biggest or most athletic of forwards, Conner's fitness and understanding of the game has made him an ideal foil for the more physical or impulsive members of the Wallingford pack.

An absolute merchant in the line-out, it's his positional game that is probably the most under-rated - when other forwards are drawn towards the breakdown, Conner's positional discipline means that he is always in a good position defensively, and often pops up in the right place to score a try.

Stuart Mount : 159 appearances - 2000-2020

Debut Season: 2000/01

Appearances: 159

Points: 20

Tries: 4

Conversions: 0

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 0

Stuart is more deserving than most of the tag 'club stalwart', for his contributions both on and off the pitch.

Arguably the best technical hooker in the history of the club, relishing in hooks against the head at scrum-time and his immaculate line-out throwing, Stuart has always been a reliable head when called upon.

His committment to the club over the years has been exemplary, having taken on several roles, including 2nd XV captain, club secretary, and most notably as 1st XV coach for three years as the club recovered from relegation from South West 2.

Althought the majority of his 1st XV career came in the first half of the 2000s, he continued to represent the 1st XV well into his forties, testament to his dedication to the club.

Ed Jenkins : 155 appearances - 2000-2011

Debut Season: 2000/01

Appearances: 155

Points: 35

Tries: 7

Conversions: 0

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 0

Along with Bungle, Ed Jenkins was one of the pillars of the set-piece that helped Wallingford enjoy sustained success during the 2000s.

An immensely strong 20 stone prop with excellent scrummaging technique, Ed was another example of a player that could have played at a much higher level had he had the desire, but he was more than happy enjoying his rugby with school friends Olli Henderson and Pete Holton at Wallingford.

A quiet man who was happy quietly warming up his ankles for an hour of every training session, Ed's bone dry sense of humour added to the rich tapestry of banter at the club in the 2000s.

He would probably have been a member of the 200 club but for a nasty eye injury which brought an end to his rugby career in his late twenties.

Pete Thorns : 116 appearances - 2002-2012

Debut Season: 2002/03

Appearances: 116

Points: 55

Tries: 11

Conversions: 0

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 1

In the days before Ian Jeffreys, Pete 'Pies' Thorns was arguably the standout back-row in the Wallingford side of the early and mid 2000s.

A thick-set forward with a deceptive turn of pace, Pete's powerful running from the base made him one of the chief ball-carriers so a number of years.

Unfortunately injuries have played a major role in the second half Pete's Wallingford career, with a nasty eye injury in 2011 forcing him into retirement, and despite a few mini-comebacks, further injuries has limited his time on the pitch.

David Keable : 116 appearances - 1999-2011

Debut Season: 1997/98

Appearances: 119

Points: 30

Tries: 6

Conversions: 0

Penalties: 0

Yellows: 0

Whilst Wallingford has sent plenty of players that didn't achieve their potential due to lack of application and committment, that definitely cannot be said of David.

An excellent team player, the first half of David's career saw him come in and out of the 1st XV, playing as a reliable, hardworking back row, but it was move into the front row that really defined his 1st XV career.

With the 1st XV running low on props, Nozz asked David if he could step into the breach, and David did not disappoint. A naturally strong man who was always in excellent shape, David more than held his own as he turned out to be a revelation as a prop.

Off the pitch, David was always one of the most friendly and cheerful members of the squad, liked by all.

Tragically, David passed away in 2014, which hit all that knew him at the club hard, and he is very much dearly missed.