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Tricky's Tales

12 March 2012

During an idle few minutes last week I read through a few match day programmes, in particular my contribution under the title Tricky's Tales. Whilst each 'tale' is true, or at least as true as my memory permits; a thought occurred, some readers may be under the misconception I didn't take rugby too seriously.

Make no mistake I played the game primarily for enjoyment. I was however born with a competitive streak and winning is infinitely preferable to losing. However, I wasn't in the same league as scrum half Richard Hill or full back Chris Martin when it came to 'fitness training,' but I do think it was a touch unnecessary to receive a map of Bath with our training ground Lambridge highlighted in fluorescent orange marker pen, twice a season from the team secretary.

I'd like to illustrate how it's not always what's written that's important but often what remains unwritten. In a previous programme I mentioned a 'street race' I was involved in during an official post match dinner in Buenos Aires. It was during that 1981 England Tour to Argentina I became the subject of an outrageous 'exclusive' newspaper article published in the Daily Mirror.

I was walking through the reception area of the Sheraton Hotel with a couple of team-mates when an air stewardess (flight attendant in modern parlance) asked which one of the team was David Trick. As I was little known and the youngest player on tour I proudly announced that I was. "Oh, so you're the playboy then," she replied. I can only assume the laughter from my team-mates coupled with the quizzical look on my face prompted her to show me a two page article in the newspaper she was holding.

It contained all sorts of sensational information concerning my time on tour, including being spotted at a roulette table in a casino one evening, even worse; I was seen drinking in a bar after midnight on the eve of my first game in an England shirt. As I read the article, barely recognising the individual, it dawned on me every word was true.

I had been in a casino the week before, as had every member of the touring party including management. It was an organised trip to the largest casino in Argentina and we spent a total of one hour at the venue. With regard to late night drinking, I was sharing a room with the Leicester Tigers centre Paul Dodge the night before my first game. After reading my book for a while, Paul asked me to turn the light out. I lay in bed, so excited and nervous about playing for England, I couldn't even shut my eyes. After twenty minutes I switched on the light and started to read, moments later Paul requested I turn off the light again. This routine continued for another forty minutes or so until finally I put on my tracksuit and went downstairs where I saw Mike Davis, (England Coach) reading a paper in the reception area.

"Trouble sleeping Tricky?" he enquired. "Big time," I replied. We moved through to the bar and ordered two orange juices. Mike asked how I'd slept the night before, "brilliantly," I said. In that case it doesn't matter how you sleep tonight he informed me, you will be fine tomorrow. I don't know if his theory is true or not but it made me relax.

Moments later a few 'press boys' arrived after a night on the town, one of them just sober enough to commit to memory seeing me in the bar. What he failed to write when he 'filed his copy' was that I was in the hotel bar with team coach Mike Davis, drinking orange juice. Further investigation would have uncovered the fact I was nervous and doing a team mate a favour by allowing him to sleep.

I can't say I was pleased with the article, not least because it would no doubt be seen my mother and indeed my grandmother, but to be fair, it did seem to make me a more interesting character to the air stewardesses!! Enough said.

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