Dennis Alexander - Orwell 57-64 : This Colts (U15s) team had a terrible record compared to those before and after, which was a pity as we had some really good individuals. Perhaps Girling wasn't the best coach. Evans was in charge of Suffolk schools rugby (or at least the U15) that year and selected 6 of us to play against Essex. We were supposed to lose by a cricket score, but actually won by an Alan Suffling drop goal in the last minute. Later that year Eastern Counties ruled that WHS was a London Counties school and we shouldn't play for Suffolk, don't when that was rescinded if ever.
As for Michael Girling, I am not sure if the term "coach" is appropriate. As far as I remember, he like most of the others responsible for a team did not actually coach us per se, but mostly just accompanied us to away matches and generally mothered us. Unless my memory is failing, games afternoons were always taken by Taffy. Mr Girling was a nice chap as I recall, but not really dynamic and charismatic. Actually, neither was Taffy in the showy sense, but he had a kind of ice-cold and steely conviction based on his experience and expertise that instilled confidence. If Taffy told you something about the game or your game then you would jolly well believe it!
The selections for Suffolk and Eastern Counties were never really understood - at least not by me. I imagine they must have been announced in assemblies, but I don't remember. What I DO remember is that A) I was never selected for either but that B) Alan Suffling WAS - for Eastern Counties - something that impressed us mightily at the time.
However, we (or I at least) had NO idea of Taffy's role in such selections - or indeed of how they were made. I think I assumed at the time that schools' rugger masters simply recommended certain individuals to some central committee. It surely would not have been possible for someone to come and WATCH prospective selections in their individual schools.