Tricky Trickers get opposition in a spin

PLAYING Stowmarket Rugby Club in the 1970s could be a confusing proposition.

PLAYING Stowmarket Rugby Club in the 1970s could be a confusing proposition.

Their speedy winger appeared to be everywhere, running rings around the opposition and often touching down tries in both corners.

It was only after a few minutes that it would suddenly dawn on the opponent that there were in fact identical twins on the field.

Peter and Alec Tricker, or the 'The Tricker Twins' as they are cunningly known locally, starred for Stowmarket first XV throughout the 1970s after being coaxed into the game by a former team-mate of their brother Digby, who played in the first ever Stowmarket side in 1962.

Their slight frames made them perfect for either wing and their opposite numbers often wouldn't know which one they were marking.

“In those days we were like two peas in a pod,” explained Peter. “They used to put us on opposing wings because we both had a bit of speed.

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“The opposition quite often did not know what was going on and you could hear them say 'God that bloke's fast - he seems to be everywhere!'

“It took them a while to work out that there were in fact two of us. We have always looked almost identical and we've always been very similar in ability in everything we do.”

The Tricker Twins did not grow up with rugby in their blood however. They preferred football at school and it took a chance meeting with one of Digby's former team-mates, Roger Stearn, to get them involved with Stowmar-ket Rugby Club.

“We both used to watch Digby play growing up but rugby didn't really interest either of us,” explained Alec. “We used to play football at school but when we were in our early 20s Roger Stearn came up to us in the Queen's Head pub in Stowmarket and said 'your brother used to be a fine rugby player for us, why don't you both give it a go?'

“So we were thrown in for the second team and it all started from there really.

“We had not really played before and neither of us knew the rules but we managed to get by.”

It didn't take long for Alec and Peter to progress into the first team although both insist that neither had more abil-ity than the other.

The one abiding memory that sticks out for both of them is the way the first XV team was selected each week.

“The team was always picked in the pub on Saturday lunch time just before the match,” explained Peter. “You can imagine the state of some of the players before they had even gone out to play.

“But it was a different era then although you wouldn't expect that to happen now.”

There weren't any local leagues for Stowmarket to compete in at the time but they used to play friendlies against the likes of Ipswich YMCA, Ipswich Rugby Club, Southwold and Felixstowe among others.

Stowmarket used to play their home games in Finborough but Alec explained the facilities were perhaps not quite up to the standard Gavin Hogg's men are used to at Chilton Fields nowadays.

“Our changing rooms were just behind the Horse Chestnut pub there and they were literally a shed with two showers in, one for the home and one for the away team.

“At the end of the game those in the know would all race off to the changing rooms as only about the first five players would have hot water!”

Alec decided to hang up his boots in 1982 when he set up his own company, Mid Suffolk Welding Supplies, in Ipswich although Peter played on and was with the club in their first season at their Chilton Fields home.

Alec explained that he missed the challenge of a match each Saturday however and set about finding an avenue for him to keep fit.“When I started my own business I decided I couldn't really afford to keep throwing myself around on a rugby field but I still wanted to do something.

“I decided to take up running and started training for marathons.”

Alec has since run three marathons and is a coach at the Ipswich Jaffa Running Club and, having seen his brother excel, Peter decided to also take up running and is also a coach of a running club at Stowmarket Striders.

But both Peter and Alec still reminisce about the days they had together at Stowmarket Rugby Club and enjoy running into some of the old crowd. “We both see some of the old boys around town sometimes - some of them joined the Striders to get fit for a little while,” said Peter.

“I think they can tell us apart a bit easier now than back then!”

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