A team of ex-pupils who left Kings’ School 20 years ago in 1996, featuring ex-Saints and England international Wayne Bridge, rolled back the years on Saturday 21 May when they beat a team consisting of current school staff 3-2 on the Kings’ all weather surface. Two goals from ex-AFC Totton striker Chris Marwood for the staff, including one from within his own half, were not enough to match those scored by Mark Vowles (2) and James Challis. The staff team featured the Wessex League partnership of Romsey Towns Dan Fox and Hythe and Dibdens Nick Dwyer alongside Cassie Thorp who recently guided the schools Under 16 Girls Team to the final of the National Cup, and Head of PE and Winchester Hockey keeper, Ally Birch. The staff certainly pushed the team of 96 hard in front of a large watching crowd of staff, parents and pupils.
The game was the centre piece of a reunion event that was held to mark the 20th anniversary of the sides victory in the Under 16 Hampshire Cup at Farnborough Town in 96 and was the brain child of Kings’ Deputy Headteacher, Rob Jeckells, who was the sides coach, and ex-Otterbourne and Colden Common striker, James Dajlid. The two had a conversation at Bridges wedding in 2014 and decided at that point to make the reunion happen.
The fixture was the first 11 a side game played by Bridge since his retirement due to injury in 2014. Bridge was determined to return to his school and play on the team with his old school friends but has stated that it will definitely be a one off. Bridge joined Saints as an apprentice in 96 and went on to make 151 appearances for them before moving to Chelsea in 2003. As an apprentice, he played in a Saints Youth Team managed by Alan Murray, featuring ex-Swansea boss Garry Monk, Kevin Gibbens, Phil Warner and keeper Scott Bevan.
The event was held on the same day as the Kings’ School Fayre and the Team of 96 enjoyed a tour of the school with their family and friends following the game. The ex-pupils had travelled from as far as the United States to attend and all declared that they had had a fantastic day and had been made to feel incredibly welcome by everyone at Kings’ School.