March Bears beat Legends XV in memorial rugby match to honour former vice-president

FRIENDS and relatives of former March Bears vice-president Doug Cranwell braved the elements to watch a special memorial match held in his honour last weekend.

Mr Cranwell’s sons Stephen and Richard were present to watch a Legends XV take on a March Bears XV, as a tribute to their father, who was nicknamed ‘Mr Dedication’.

After the game they praised both sides for their efforts and said they would like to see the fixture become a yearly event.

Current Bears’ chairman Barry Feetham had described the club’s former vice-president as “a true gentleman” when tributes flooded in to the Cambs Times after his death on September 28.

The game itself was a closely fought contest, with the Bears eventually coming out on top 21-14 in wet conditions at the Elm Road Sports Field.

Bears captain Matty Day kicked two early penalties before Legend’s scrum-half Taff Howells stormed over from a scrum. Howells’ try was converted by Colin Buck to give the experienced side a 7-6 lead at half-time.

Another penalty from Day and Karl Cooke’s first try of the season powered March into a 14-7 lead soon after the break.

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But the Legends again found a reply when Rob Whyman crashed over for a try that was converted by Buck, levelling the scores at 14-14.

The deciding blow came in the closing stages, when a sweeping 75-yard move from the Bears was converted by Cooke. The conversion was slotted by Day, to seal a 21-14 win for the Bears, who will return to competitive action against Ely III XV, tomorrow.

Mr Cranwell made a lasting impact on a number of organisations across Fenland including Ely City Football Club who postponed a match in his honour after the accident.

A founding member of Ely Rugby Club, Mr Cranwell showed similar allegiance to March Conservative Club and Middle Level Commissioners in March where he worked for 44 years.