OUNDLE have been blessed with a notable list of coaches over the years – former Wales skipper Terry Cobner, England hooker John Olver, England full-back Simon Hodgkinson and England and Lions lock Danny Grewcock – but none have left a more indelible imprint than Frank Spragg.
Spragg was the Oxford fullback in the 1926 Varsity match and joined Oundle the following year as a Latin teacher, but within a couple of years, his true vocation revealed itself when he started a 33-year stint in charge of the First XV. A born coach.
Either side of World War 2 Oundle were a powerhouse in the school's game with defeats being notable occasions. And although not particularly a Sevens side – preferring to indulge in other sporting events in the Lent term – they reached three Rosslyn Park Sevens Finals in quick succession in 1942, 1945, and 1946.
To Spragg’s slight irritation Oundle managed to lose all three – against Bedford, Rugby, and Uppingham respectively – but the outstanding team of 1955, who had swept all aside on the fifteens circuit, managed to rectify the situation by finally completing the job with a 3-0 win over Taunton College.
Spragg’s reputation spread far and wide. In 1952 he played a large part in the production of the original RFU coaching manual while he became something of a radio celebrity as the guest coaching expert on the Tackling Rugby programme – hosted by Rex Alston – that appeared on the old BBC Home Service. When he stepped down he took to writing on the game for the Observer and then became both the school's rugby and cricket correspondent for the Daily Telegraph.
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