As Minterne Magna eased into the semi-finals of the Dorset Football Championships yesterday, memories were revived of their memorable run in the 1962 tournament. Little fancied at the start of the competition ("we are hoping to use this year as an opportunity to learn and to come back stronger in 1966") the team went much further than expected beating Hinton Parva, Melbury Osmond and Lower Mannington in the group stage before eliminating both Poyntington and Ryme Intrinseca in the knock-out phases of the competition. They then crashed out unexpectedly (17-0) in the semi-final; beaten by an East Pulham side which, despite having only 8 men on the field after 18 minutes, were "probably the better team on the day". Harsher critics said that the scoreline did not flatter the East Pulham men.
Star of the show for Mintern Magna - and one of the few bright spots on that difficult day - was 22 year old centre back Professor Brian Thrupiece. His performance was all the more remarkable given that earlier on in the day he had already reached the quarter finals of the Shapwick All Dorset Open Tennis Championships and come 3rd in the Dorset Grand Prix at the Owermoigne International Circuit.
Sports historian - Guy Nezbukov-Rekordtz - says that it was a feat never before accomplished and unlikely to be equalled again. "To take part in three completely different disciplines on the same day and to do so well in each (he blocked at least one shot on goal and our four past his own keeper in the 17-0 defeat) is close to unprecedented, he said. "So much so that it has never been seen before and will probably never be seen again - and that's unprecedented in itself".
Claims that Professor Thrupiece also won the West Country Crown Green Bowling Championship at Stour Provost later that evening have been described as "possibly far fetched", though Mr Nezbukov-Rekordtz believes he certainly had the wherewithal to do it. "He certainly had the wherewithal to do it", Mr Nezbukov-Rekordtz said "though whether he did or didn't will remain a matter for historians like myself to debate. Personally I am absolutely convinced that I am 100% unsure, but I would like to think he did - after all, four events in a day would be even more unprecedented than the already wholly unprecedented three."
Modern day professionals will be amused to know that for his efforts on that remarkable sporting day Professor Thrupiece received: expenses, a full set of (6) Slazenger Tennis Balls, a novelty egg timer (Grand Prix) and a rebuke from his mother for not taking his boots off on his return home. How times change!
That Triple Crown in detail: [TOP] The Minterne Magna eleven - Professor Thrupiece [back row far right] was "an old fashioned and occasionally agricultural centre half"; [MIDDLE] Professor Thrupiece powers his way into the quarter finals with his trademark "off-balance forehand lunge" [Dan Maskell]; [BOTTOM LEFT] resting on the wheels of his Whisky-McNightly Racing Connaught-Maserati whilst "digitally testing the waters" with a close friend; [BOTTOM RIGHT] Professor Thrupiece with a selection of his Crown Green Bowls trophies. Observant readers will notice that here the Professor has chosen to be photographed in one of his alternative (though, nonetheless, familiar) guises. Sceptics believe this provides sufficient "grounds for suspicion" with regard to the Stour Provost All-Dorset Crown Green Bowling Championship claim (the so-called quadruple helmet), though paradoxically, the more consistent image on the other three photographs suggests that the "triple crown" claim is "a slam dunk".*
* Use of this phrase should not be taken to imply that the Professor also competed simultaneously in the Tarrant Rushton Basketball Championships as some enthusiasts have claimed: though he may have done so.