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Club mourns the loss of David Hodge

| 29/05/2013


David L Hodge, stalwart Bridgwater & Albion forward between 1949 and 1968, sadly passed away on 22 May at the age of 79.  Older supporters of the club and his playing contemporaries will remember his stalwart service to the club and the inspirational leadership which he provided throughout his playing career. 

David started his rugby football with the club in the Colts XV in 1949 but soon graduated to the first team, making his debut in 1950 where he remained for the majority of his career.  In 1953 he made the first of the 37 appearances for the Somerset County team. 

David was a contemporary of other Albion luminaries such as Bert Bastable, Colin Webber, Alan Date, Alan Gibbs, Jack Taylor, DT Williams and Gordon Barrett and the experience of these players assisted his development.  In the same way throughout his career David also guided and cajoled his younger charges as they made their way through the club and the game. 

David was appointed 1st XV captain in 1960/61 and held the post for three consecutive seasons.  Perhaps the club’s Centenary Handbook (1975) sums up the man and player he was “1960/61 – The captaincy this season switched from the three-quarters back to the pack once again in the form of David L Hodge.  A truly great forward with a wealth of county experience behind him who believed in leading from the front by example.  David was extremely strong and rugged, carved straight from one of the local quarries around Bridgwater.  He was a very mobile forward, being very fast about the field and who could handle like a three-quarter.  He also possessed a very fine place kick which proved to be the downfall of many sides”. 

That 1960/61 season produced 22 Albion victories and 4 draws from their 42 matches but the highlight for Dave was his appearance for the Western Counties against South Africa in December 1960 at Kingsholm (in company with Bobby Collard, also of Albion).  Dave was later to be a reserve for the Western Counties in their match against the All Blacks in 1963. 

The fact that David was capable of appearing in all three rows of the scrum made him an almost ever present in the team, whether it be at prop, in the second row or in any three of the back row positions.  He was a more than adequate place kicker with a toe-on approach, securing many welcome points. 

He was a dedicated trainer and always very fit as a result and his rugged approach to the game inspired many a colleague and was always to the detriment of the opposition.  He continued his playing days into the late 1960’s and club President Mike Berry recalls this with some relish.  “I came into the Albion 1st XV in October 1966 and David Hodge was still playing.  I must say that having watched and admired him as a schoolboy from the touchline, it was an honour and indeed fascinating to play in the same side as him.  He was still inspirational and perhaps more importantly for a younger player, he offered guidance and also protection, always ready to sort out the opposition if they preyed upon Albion’s younger players.  His guidance of younger players such as Richard Bell, Mike Hawkins and Jim Strong clearly shone through in the development of those players.  I can well remember his last appearance on 30 March 1968 against St Marys Hospital when he signed off by kicking two penalty goals in a 9-8 victory.  Some of his tussles with his main rivals, particularly in the local derbies, were certainly not for the squeamish, but in true spirit he and the opposing players were great friends off the field.  He made over 400 1st XV appearances for the club and will always be remembered as a true Albion man, always seeking to enhance his own play and to inspire his teammates”. 

The club sends its sincere condolences to David’s family.  His funeral is being held at Taunton Crematorium on Friday 31 May at 11 am.

Category: Club News

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