Max Boyce honoured by Rugby Union Writers Club

Graeme Gillespiein Rugby

Max Boyce, the great Bard of Welsh rugby, was honoured at the Rugby Union Writers' Club in London this week for his services to rugby.

Schalk Brits (L) of Saracens, Tony Rowe (2nd L) owner of Exeter Chiefs and Rob Howley (R) Lions assistant coach, present Max Boyce with a tankard, for services to rugby during the Rugby Union Writers' Club Annual Dinner & Awards at the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor

The Glynneath RFC president joined Owen Farrell, Doddie Weir and Wharfedale RFC veteran Michael Harrison in being singled out in front of an audience that included World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont, CEO Brett Gosper, WRU chairman Gareth Davies and CEO Martyn Phillips and British & Irish Lions legends Sir Ian McGeechan and Roger Uttley.

But, as Peter Jackson put it: "There would be no limit to his talent in other directions as a troubadour par excellence with the gold discs and million album sales to prove it. Unable to change the shape of Welsh rugby, he changed the sound instead with his Hymns and Arias brought to a whole new continental audience by the success of the Wales football team at the Euros in France last summer.

"Unlike his constricted playing days, there has never been any limit on Boyce the entertainer, nor on his ability to sharpen new skills in the unlikeliest spheres of expertise. As well as Boyce the bit-part player, miner, musician, comedian, lyricist and perceptive recorder of social history in song, another string has to be added to a very long bow: Boyce the Agronomist.

"His knowledge of grass passes all understanding. His role of honorary groundsman makes him arguably the ultimate one-club man, not that Boyce himself would dare lay claim to such a title. But how many at his age - 74 earlier this season - undertake a job which entails rolled up sleeves and muddied hands?

"Most settle for the less perspiring role as presidential figurehead. The Bard combines his club presidency with the challenging position of groundsman, tackling it with an enthusiasm generated by a lifelong passion for Glynneath and its rugby club.

Max explained where his 'green fingers' came from. "A long time ago when I was captain of the local golf club, the committee decided to dig up six greens. I got in touch with the British Turf people and their head agronomist. I didn't know then what an agronomist was.

"I applied their professional advice to what little knowledge I had at the time to the rugby pitch. It was in a dire state, full of weeds and terrible drainage problems. Often the bottom 20 yards would be under a foot of water.

"Everyone piled in, all twelve of us from all walks of life in a great team effort. We've been looking after it now for 20 years. It's my little hobby and I have to say the standard of pitches in the Championship is pretty good - but not as good as ours. It's in great nick."

You can read the full article from Wales Rugby Union HERE

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