Bernard Edwards (Former Master 1950-1994)
30/09/2009
Bernard Edwards, who died in September 2009 aged ninety, was HCS post-war rugby coach for over twenty years. Some of his earlier successful teams and players became legendary (e.g. Welshman Johnny Harries, team captain 1951, later regular outside-half for Wasps 1st XV); but he was still coaching long after that. A small, dapper man with crinkly blond hair, he knew rugby backwards, and – it was rumoured -- was only kept out of the Welsh side by the great Haydn Tanner. Actually we never knew the facts of his playing career, but it was certainly at a seriously high level.

He was a quiet, level-headed, rather formal person. He never gesticulated, shouted, lost his temper, waved his arms about or anything of the kind. Even after great victories (Christ College Brecon 27-0) or sickening defeats (Monmouth 8-11 after leading 8-0) emotions were kept in check. After a match, in a classroom or on the coach home, he would quietly summarise the game, complimenting little but never discouraging. A rather stern manner covered deep kindness and patience, and we knew we were being individually appraised, for our own good.

In 1955 I was captain – an indifferent one alas, next to class acts Lawton Evans, Geoff Miller and Alick Rowe before and after. But ‘Bernie’ worked closely with captains and you learnt much. Training sessions were hard work; a sharp rebuke here, a terse word of praise there; scrummaging and back movements tried out, weaknesses worked on, skills taught. Selecting teams or awarding colours, he would ask your views, listen patiently, suggest a couple of modifications, and give his reasons. It was soon clear he was right.

But Bernard also taught modern languages. In those amateur days, school sports coaches were also fully qualified, mainstream teachers. Bernard was a graduate of the University of Wales. His manner was the same in the classroom as on the field. His lessons were professional, quiet, calm and systematic. Rugby was never mentioned once; no one would have dared. He did everything he did with thoughtful dignity; life was serious, there were standards to be kept. He kept them. We were fortunate to know him.

Writes

John Ward (School, 1953-1956)
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