Rugby players other interests

Written by Jonathan Burt (VinChainSaw)

Posted in :In the news on 30 Apr 2008 at 00:03

Rugby has often in the past had to share the talents of her players with their other interests and skills in life.

Rugby has had doctors, lawyers, accountants, models and businessmen. No engineers that I can think of which is a point to ponder over a few beers sometime.

But I digress. The Eastendlife reports on my teammate Ben Smith at my rugby club and his other “special” talent. Just to show we can do more than grunt around the pitch. Some great piss-takes in there too.

AUSSIE Ben Smith normally spends his weekend’s playing for Millwall Rugby Club but the Easter break meant he could indulge his other passion – marbles.

The 27-year-old Millwall back represented Australia in the 2008 marbles Championship in Tinsley Green, West Sussex, in the less than glamorous surrounds of a pub car park.

Interest in the tournament was high and the Australians made a bright start.

They eased past CBBC 6-1 before coming up against reigning champions and three-times winners 1st MC Erzgebirge, from Germany.

Despite their obvious enthusiasm, the Australians were no match for their more experienced opponents and were knocked out in the second round.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Aussies though, as Smith came sixth out of more than 100 marbathletes, from 21 countries, in the individual final.

Smith, who arrived in London in 2004 and works for the NHS as an echocardiographer, has played 45 matches for the Isle of Dogs side and is hoping to finish the season strongly as Millwall’s first team need two victories from their final two games to confirm their place in Essex 1 for next season.

Now he hopes his marble heroics can spill over to the rugby field.

“There were over 20 teams in this tournament and the standard of play and showmanship was outstanding,” he said.

Marbles might not carry the same prestige playing at Twickenham would, but Smith said he was immensely proud to don the green and gold like many of his heroes.

“To be able to be mentioned in the same breath as John Eales, George Gregan, Shane Warne and Steve Waugh is very satisfying,” he joked.

“Being ranked in the top ten in the world is one of the highest honours I’ve ever achieved,” said the Tower Hamlets resident.

Smith’s marbles teammate Brendan Done, another Millwall player, has now represented his country at two sports having played rugby league for the Australian Universities.


  • Off to the dining room at the House of Commons next weekend for our annual awards dinner. All very civilised.

  • Comment 1, posted at 30.04.08 00:06:37 by VinChainSaw Reply
  • I like this part “and the standard of play and showmanship was outstanding,” The WWF of the marble world then. 😀

    Vin, do you rent the dinning room or is it invitation only?

  • Comment 2, posted at 30.04.08 09:52:18 by Salmonoid Reply
    Friend of Sharksworld
    Salmonoid the Subtle
  • Salmanoid,

    Very interesting question. The club is only 13 years old and a few seasons ago, amidst all the growing pains that occur with a new club, the guys were looking for a high profile person to act as Honorary Chairman of the club. A bit of publicity but hopefully also somebody that cold go bat for us in the public eye.

    So in typical rugby club tradition the brain-storming decision was made over a few beers in the local and the boys thought big and approached the local Member of Parliament for the area to fill the position.

    As it turns out they backed a winner because the MP in question is now a Labour front-bencher and the current Aviation Minister, one Jim Fitzpatrick.

    So every year he invites us and we have our award dinner there. We obviously pay for it but without that I doubt we would have it there.
    That place is incredible. Something like 32 different bars just in the parliament buildings alone!
    Outside the entrance to the House of Commons there is a massive bronze statue of Winston Churchill and every Conservative that walks past touches his foot as they walk into the House.
    So now his foot is actually wearing thin and there are fears it may one day not be able to carry its weight as foot gets worn away from all the touching!

  • Comment 3, posted at 30.04.08 10:53:06 by VinChainSaw Reply

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