Old Hymerian, Sam Clare, left Hymers College in 1998. In September he will be joining our teaching team as Head of Psychology.
He recently reflected on his sporting experience at the school, see below to see what he had to say:
“My sporting life started, like so many other sports people, hanging around at the side of pitches waiting for my parents to finish their games. My dad was a rugby player and had been roped in to play for Hornsea RUFC in the late 1980’s so my rugby career began watching a load of old men (or they seemed so at the time) running around a wet boggy pitch on a Saturday afternoon in winter.
I started playing rugby for Hornsea Juniors aged 8 and by the age of 10, I was playing at Driffield RUFC for the age group above me. That same year I had been told about this “amazingly sporty school with lots of opportunity for rugby players” so I was excited to join Hymers Junior School. I came crashing down to earth when the football trials were held in the first term and I was way out of my depth! However, it gave me something which to this day I hold dear and that is a challenge. I worked really hard to get some footballing skills and I think by the last year of the Junior School I might have sat on the bench once for the school team - probably the third proudest moment of my sporting career at school. During that time I represented Yorkshire Clubs as a freestyle swimmer and remember training at school with Mr Raspin and Mr Glenville and some really talented boys and girls in the Junior School. We did not have a pool in those days so we trained at (the freezing cold) Beverley Road baths.
By the time we progressed to the Senior School, I was playing regular rugby and cricket for Driffield RUFC and Humbleton CC respectively and getting my fix at school. Other sports began to be presented to me and a whole new world of engaging activity such as fencing, athletics, badminton, tennis and skiing opened up. I grabbed every opportunity that came my way and developed a real lifelong love of sport that was supported and aided by the PE staff all the way. Mr Fitzpatrick, Mr Guy, Mr Walmsley (yes, he really has been teaching that long) were amazing PE staff but were helped by lots of non-PE specialists like Mr Aldred, Mr O’Byrne, Mr Gravelle and Mr Exley (yes, him too) who were always enthusiastic and keen to allow us to play whatever it was we wanted to get involved in.
By the time I was in Sixth Form, sport was a major part of my life. I was not a naturally gifted sportsman at all and found I had to work really hard but would always find other students and teachers willing to coach and practice with me. My niche, probably due to my ability to talk for England, became captaincy and I am proud to say I captained the 2nd XV in my final year and the 2nd XI in both year 12 and 13. I represented the school XV 5 or 6 times and 1st XI 3 or 4 times, (my second proudest moments) and loved rugby with a passion by this point. Although not playing 1st team regularly, I was representing East Yorkshire Colts and getting plenty of rugby out of school. I was also playing cricket for about 5 different clubs, including a team of teachers, sixth formers and my dad called Remnants CC which was great fun.
Some things that stick in my mind about school sports is missing out on the school rugby tour to Australia, which was by all accounts an amazing experience and brilliant for the school, but I remember the struggle I had being pleased for the boys who went and also dealing with my own disappointment. This feeling served me well later in life. I also remember hosting a touring team from South Africa who brought their 1st and 2nd XV. We had the lads over at our homes while they were here and it was a lesson in sport (still one of the hardest matches of my life) and culture. I fondly remember skiing holidays, crazy jumps that I’m sure teachers would not be allowed to encourage today. I was part of the 1st group to sit any kind of PE exam at Hymers. A group of 6 of us sat GCSE PE as an option in Y12 and we all walked out with an A*, testament to the teaching at the school. I think my proudest moment came with the 2nd XI and a game at Batley where we were dire. We had let them get to 120-odd in their overs with some terrible fielding and poor bowling. Coming out to bat at the non-striker’s end when we were about 40-6, Mr Exley said to me:
“Well, that’s the longest boundary I’ve seen on a cricket pitch in this league. Anyone who hits a six over that will send a message.”
Taking careful guard as the strike changed, eyeing the distant white chalk boundary line through the heat haze, I duly skipped down the wicket to the next ball and smashed a six. I did the same on the next ball. The field was changed, suddenly the Hymers lads were interested again on the boundary, Mr Exley was beaming; I was going to be a hero. Of course, next ball I was bowled and we went on to lose by 60 or so runs, but it’s a story that is still shared when we meet up.
Since school I have represented Newcastle University 1st XV and played county level under 19 for Northumbria (told you that feeling would serve me well), I have won 2 Yorkshire Cups with Bridlington RUFC, been promoted in consecutive seasons with Pocklington RUFC, coached all over Yorkshire, lived and skied in Canada, created a cricket team with my dad and won the Hull Works’ League, run half marathons, become a purple belt in mixed martial arts (I’m working toward my black), played ice hockey on real lakes, tennis on top of skyscrapers, windsurfed to desert islands and kayaked round the Scottish islands. All of which are due to the sheer love of sport that Hymers nurtured in me all those years ago.”
Former Senior Master and Head of Mathematics, Geoff Underwood took part in a Teacher Feature in 2001 More...