History of Colts
How The Stroller Colts came about – Touring Personnel Policy
Strollers’ first tour to Amsterdam in 1981 was a resounding success, and we won both matches . . . . against sides of fit young monsters who, given the slightest amount of rugby nous, would have eaten us for breakfast. One picture alone shows the effect of the Amstelveen win on some of us – and we actually felt a LOT worse than we looked!!
For one reason and another, foreign tours were put on hold until 1987, when wanderlust once more overcame us. So did the memories of ’81 and the possibilities of a right stuffing – and with front rows at a premium, the thought of providing a bursary to take a fine young hooker with us was irresistible. Thus Pete Carter became the very first Stroller Colt- see below (apparently being groped by Dad Brierley didn’t affect his enjoyment of the trip!).
This introduction of ‘yoof’ went so well that we immediately seized on the idea of introducing in increasing number of Colts in direct proportion to the Strollers declining faculties. We also thought that (a) The Netherlands were getting a bit good at rugby and (b) the beer was much better in neighbouring countries – and so the Touring with Colts in Belgium tradition was founded and served us well for 15 years! This meant that the Strollers could progressively delegate parts of the game (running, jumping, all that athletic stuff) to younger bodies more fitted to such tasks. Also, though we weren’t to know it at the outset, the Colts seemed to enjoy themselves to the extent that they wanted to come again – even when they had graduated to the first team. Strollers’ Tours thus became an exercise in intergenerational Hopperdom which have had few equals. We grappled and mauled, they jinked and ran, we all ate and drank like men possessed, and no-one ever told their mothers!!
We’d started the Colts exercise with dim thoughts of ‘passing on the Hoppers Ethos’, but found that in many cases they were passing it back to us! In fact any ‘ethos transfer’ ended up to be just an ‘ethos sharing’, because it turned out that ‘Being a Proper Stroller’ and ‘Being a Proper Hopper’ were entirely interchangeable concepts!
The following words and pictures give you an idea of who the Stroller Colts were and how they enjoyed themselves. How they did these things and still graduated to some really influential positions both in society and at the Hoppers is one of the great mysteries of life!