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Interview with Graham Barguss

Interview with Graham Barguss G-Barguss.jpg

Some weeks I have no idea what I’m going to write about, others I have no trouble with. On one of the weeks I was struggling to think of something I was reading an interview with Jerry Burgess (Valentino Rossi’s Chief engineer) This gave me the idea to do something similar. I’ve sent the same set of questions to a couple of people to test the water and see how they go.

The first reply to arrive is from League Chairman Graham Barguss. If you don’t know who he is then this a golden opportunity. If it wasn’t for Graham Barguss or Graham Brown you would not be playing in the Abingdon Aunt Sally League at all. Such is the time and effort they put in.

1- When did you first begin playing and who was it for?

I started playing in 1974 for The Bystander B team in section D

2 – Can you give me a short biography of the teams/pubs you have played for and when you became chairman?

I played one season for the Bystander and then moved to the Flowing Well playing in the C section for a couple of seasons. I then went to RBL Wootton for a couple of years moving from there to the White Horse joining the team there which then moved as a team to the Crown Ock Street – when the Crown closed we moved as a team across the road to the Brewery Tap. I was then asked to join RBL Abingdon playing with them for 7 or 8 years during which time I was recruited onto the committee as Chairman by Basil Collins who came down to the shop to ask me to take the job on . As a player I returned then to RBL Wootton, the team then split up and I joined the team at the Saxton Arms moving on to Abingdon United after 3 seasons.

3 – What made you start playing and who would have been your influences when you first began?

At the time I first started to play I wasn’t of course, good enough to play in the A Team , they had the best team in the league, with Basil Collins, Phil Sallis, Sid Green, Tony Thompson, Frank Watson and Jimmy Dixey playing in the A team, adults I had known my whole life, and knew that they played, however I did not go to a game until I returned from the Army, so along with my brother John and Bob Wellman we started a B team at the Bystander .

My influences from day 1 were, in no particular order: Jimmy Dixey Sid Green and Ron Parker from Abingdon, Mickey Beane, Laurie Woods and Monty Greenaway from Oxford .

4 – You have obviously been involved with some very successful teams, The Abingdon Legion were a very dominant force as were Penlon. Are there any that stand out for you?

Abingdon RBL stands out above the rest for the number of trophies they won during my time with them. That team would have held its own against any of the era teams, Flowing Well 60-61, Bystander 70-74, Cross Keys 74-76 and the Fox 95-2004

5 – Your throw. Have you always thrown like that or has it developed. Did anyone help you initially with your throw? E.g. give advice etc.

My throw started feet apart, back to front holding 3 sticks, averaging 6 or 7 changing to left leg one step forward. Then developed slowly moving my hands further up the stick until a cross stick arrived without realising it. I have not always been confident of my throw changing and adjusting regularly. The one thing that has helped me is a good eye and being able to concentrate on my action.

6 – This for those just starting or new players. You are a very good player, particularly under pressure. How long would say it took from when you first took up Aunt Sally to when you were consistently getting 10 or more dolls per game.

About 5 years and playing the anchorman enabled me to handle the pressure

7 – You’ve won the singles competition and everything in-between. Do you have any special moments in competition or league which you look back on with pride?

I have won the singles competition once reached the finals 3 times and the semi finals twice Winning the league for the first time in section C with the Flowing Well the same for RBL Abingdon as Captain my sixes and man of the match award against the Oxford League, winning the Pairs Final with my son James, my highest dolls in any match 17 and getting 200 dolls in a season on only a few occasions .

8 – Recently I’ve mentioned some potentially controversial subjects in the blog. How do you see the game going with regard to the number of players in the team, perhaps reducing, Is that something you would agree with?

I would like to see the game continue in its original and present form of 8 in a team but the current financial climate may dictate otherwise. You only have to look at the number of pubs closing down every week to see the end of the pub as we know it. I think clubs are possibly the future they really appreciate the business midweek, because of this I can see, sooner rather than later, reducing the team member numbers. My ideal scenario would be name 8 players to play but only play 5 in a leg, playing maybe 5 legs but changing the lowest scorer each leg, your better players have a guaranteed 5 legs and the lesser one to 3 legs . Scoring would need some thought but would give all players and teams a chance every week.

9 – Do you agree with the handicap system in place at the moment?

I personally feel no handicap is necessary although the current system is working reasonably well. I would like to see a change to a handicap for individual players for example Captains would nominate their players , the opposing captain would check that player list against a list produced by the committee the idea being that the same average would apply – Team A have an average of 24 Team B an average of 20 a handicap of 4 dolls for Team B . If Team A have 2 players away bringing their average down to 21 they would only give one doll handicap this would cover holidays and weaker teams.

10 – In this game with so many characters and so many different types of throw and approach. What do you think makes a good player and do you have any advice for those starting out? How do they get as good as you? Is it practice or ability?

As you are aware the standard throw is standstill legs apart back and front to gain line and length, eye coordination is essential, some people can do it immediately others have no idea, you can liken it to learning to catch a tennis ball, some folk do it straight off others will never be able to achieve it. As your confidence grows your throw will change often as you experiment until you find something that suits and you are comfortable with. I never stop thinking what I can do to improve. You can see guys down in section C D and E who have played for 20-30 years and still throw the same as they did on day one, still getting the odd one or two but very pleased to be taking part in the game and socialising which really is the idea of the game.

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