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News > School News > The Gary Halpin Salver

The Gary Halpin Salver

A fitting match for 'one of our own' Gary Halpin (STAFF, 08-17)
9 Dec 2021
Written by Huw Richards
School News
Bentley Halpin presenting the 'Gary Halpin Salver' to winning CCB captain Jack Lock
Bentley Halpin presenting the 'Gary Halpin Salver' to winning CCB captain Jack Lock

The Gary Halpin Salver 2021

Christ College 22 - 0 The Oratory School

Wednesday 8th December - Cardiff Arms Park

What a fitting evening for 'one of our own' Gary Halpin and we were privileged to have his son Bentley John to present, for the first time, the Salver in his honour and memory.

The game was played in some challenging weather conditions, with gale force winds and heavy rain (The end of storm Barra!). Although the conditions were adverse there was some great rugby on show from both sides. Both team attacked the game with real intent to play, there was a very cagey start to the game with both teams going head to head. Oratory had the chance to open the scoring with a penalty from 35m out but pushed it wide. Christ College worked their way back up the field and patiently worked their way towards the try line. Some strong carries and some accurate handling saw Conquer put Heselton away in the corner to take a 5-0 lead. Minutes later Christ College went further in front with some strong carrying from our forward pack, with Coyle displaying great footwork to weave his way through and dot down next to the sticks. Christ College went into the break with a 12-0 lead.

The second half started with Christ College playing with the wind behind them, and Christ College utilised this wind with some good game management from our halfbacks Buffrey and Griffiths. 10 minutes into the second half Christ College were awarded a penalty inside the oratory 22m, they opted to kick to the corner where the forwards set a strong driving maul. Patiently the pack drove towards their try line, the maul was brought down a meter from the line. Up popped Heselton who carried the ball with real power and drove over the try line for his second of the evening, Griffiths was unsuccessful off the tee again with the conditions making kicking very difficult. 2 minutes from time came the final nail in the coffin, where Christ College broke down the right hand side with Coyle, break through and feeding the ball to Perrins who breaks through between two defenders getting a brilliant offload to Price who finishes well in the corner to see us take the final score, and commanding 22-0 final score

A fitting tribute from Tim Trumper (STAFF, 01-22)

Gary and Christ College were a good fit. He clearly felt comfortable with the lack of pretention and as part of a proud sporting tradition of a small but feisty ancient school. Children warm to a character and love a dash of eccentricity, and the affection the students felt towards 'Halps' was obvious. He was loud and effusive, and clearly had a particular way of going about things which was different from the norm.

Everyone was given a nickname; he was unusually noisy in the Dining Hall; he would often be seen dressing moving around the school; when it snowed, a throaty motorcycle was swapped for a quad bike to ferry the toboggans up the hill; a lusty singer, instructions from the front of Chapel to omit certain verses were studiously ignored, as he ploughed on through his own version. Stick around and action in some shape or form would follow this particular member of staff.

Gary was 'old school' in his approach to school mastering, but also very much a maverick. His coaching was forthright and direct, his touchline delivery punctuated by the more fruity colloquialisms of home. He demanded 100% commitment; if teams delivered, there were no complaints from the coach regardless of the result. Never happier than when talking rugby, he formed a great friendship with Chris Webber. Within our team of coaches, Gary willingly shared his experience and was a champion of younger colleagues.

First and foremost, Gary enjoyed the company of young people. Working alongside Carol, he was a dedicated Houseparent, his approach the epitome of an open- door policy. The watchwords of his boarding house were loyalty and respect for your fellow man. Gary was saddened when the boys made mistakes. Such was the relationship he shared with the majority, few let themselves down. Academically, he was no slouch, steering some challenging groups through A level.

Come the summer, his focus shifted to the hammer. Under his tutelage, a succession of protégés, boys and girls, achieved International honours. The groundsman was persuaded to site a practice circle in a far corner of the playing fields; Halps took delight from personally disrupting affairs on the 2nd XI square which remained within range of a decent heave. In the gym, Gary was a ferocious trainer. A number of us watched from a safe distance as a hapless gym technician was dispatched to request Halps desist from pounding away on the aging running machine that was flagging under his daily assault. The example he set helped raise the students expectations of themselves.

Gary was a great soul and a special colleague. His larger than life character and sense of fun enlivened the Senior Common Room. Trips to away matches passed quickly, with great laughter emanating from the front of the bus. An accomplished self- taught guitarist, it took little persuasion to have him play in the boarding house and when we gathered as a staff. 

His junior sports tour to Ireland became a rite of passage for students and teachers. Halps would lead a convoy of half a dozen buses that were required to follow his 'direct route' to Kilkenny. In his home town, he was heralded a hero, with someone always wanting to hear the story of 'that try.' This big hearted man played down his success but we all loved it when memories were shared.

Celebrity brought its privileges; Halps had a great admirer in a young fella named Ed, who had a valuable role working in our Dining Hall. Ed always made a 'bee line' for Halps - the topic of conversation always Sue Barker's wardrobe; Ed is Sue's greatest fan. Imagine his delight when Halps arranged VIP tickets for 'A Question of Sport.' Thanks to a bit of magic sprinkled very quietly by the great man, Ed got to meet his heroine.

Gary was a very genuine man, a natural people person with the common touch, and amongst his many incarnations and guises, a comfortable and gifted teacher. Happy circumstance brought him to Christ College with a special result for all the young people and colleagues whose lives he touched.




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