Since spring season has started back up the Bombers have been full steam ahead.
Over the weekend the Bombers had two home league matches for this year’s Alumni Day. The Bombers had setup a large tent with picnic tables, BBQ and ice cold beer provided by our sponsors.
Prior to both matches a moment of silence was observed in honor of two fallen ruggers from earlier in the week. Austen Lamb, 19, played for the Bombers Academy team under John Watson and was attending South East Missouri State. Austen was involved in an auto accident and died of his injuries later in the week. Charles Labry was attending Lindenwood University and part of the LU rugby team when he was killed in a separate auto accident. It’s hard to see two young athletes taken away so early and both will be greatly missed.
The DIII side took on the Scorpions in the first match of the day. The Scorpions were first to get onto the board with a drive from a lineout and take a 5-0 lead. The Bombers were quick to respond with a try and playing fast-hard defense and offense. The Bombers would only give up that first try in the game and go onto beating Kohlfeld 69-5. Man of the match for the forward went to Colin Fitzhenry and Paul Deutch for the backs.
The Bombers DII coming off a big win last weekend against KCRFC was looking to repeat against the Ramblers in the second match. The Bombers were strong in the scrums and controlled the lineouts. The backs were able to cut through the Rambler’s defense and the Bomber’s forwards slowed the Rambler’s offense. The DII side would beat the Rambler with the final score 67-17. Taylor Driller received Man of the Match for the forwards with his strong defensive plays and Mark Menne for the backs.
Following the second match the Lindenwood Woman’s rugby team took the pitch to take on ISU. The LU Lions had a field conflict and were unable to play at Lindenwood University and so the Bombers offered their field for use. The LU Lions would beat ISU 74-0 in a very fun match to watch.
It was a good day for the Bombers as both sides not only won their games, but also acquired bonus points. The Alums also had a great time with their player raffle on who would get man of the match. The winners were given gift cards to Colombo’s Bar & Tavern from Ryan Colombo himself.
Next week is the last home game for the fall season on both sides. The DIII side will face the Hornets at 1pm and the DII will take on the Omaha GOATS at 3pm. Saturday night will be “Own the Bar Night” at Colombo’s Bar & Tavern from 5pm – midnight and the Bombers will receive half of the register during that time. There will also be auction items and drink specials throughout the night.
On Sunday, August 24, one of the University of Missouri’s all-time football greats, John “The Jet” Henley, (Wide Receiver – 1969-72) and former Bomber (Winger, 1972) passed away at his home in San Bernardino, California. He had been battling liver cancer for 2 years. Jet had a stellar gridiron career at Mizzou including the school record for most receptions, All-Big 8 and All American Honors. . He was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1972, but did not sign, opting for a successful law career.
Little did the MU Athletic Department know, that during his playing career at Mizzou, Jet was burning up the rugby pitch (under an alias of “David Mojack” ) as a winger for the Missouri Tiger Rugby Team during the off-season. Football players were forbidden to play rugby. It was there that Henley was recruited along with Jim “LC” Dierker (Bombers 1971-80) by Sterling Hayden, Mizzou Rugby Player/Coach, to play for the St. Louis Bombers.
Both Henley and Dierker were “guest” players on the famous or infamous Bomber tour to Charlottesville, Virginia to play in the classic Commonwealth Cup Tournament. This elite tourney featured the top teams in the U.S., United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. With 9.3 hundred yard sprinter speed and able to hit like a line-backer, Henley complemented the Bomber Black team of incredible size and toughness, who welcomed both of the Mizzou recruits. The Bombers did not win the tournament, but left a huge impression on the Eastern Rugby Union on and off the field.
It was on that wild East Coast tour, that tall tales were spun about “stair diving, chandelier eating, keg stealing, and the “Flight for Life”. One such story was about Henley and Dierker “dining and dashing” from a McDonald’s with 100 hamburgers and fries for a “free” team dinner. Or when the tour bus was pulled over in Indiana, where a Bomber (Jet/Dierker suspects to this day), was accused of throwing a full beer can out the window, and hitting a “Hoosier” in a pickup. The Highway Patrol ended up arresting the bus driver, leaving the team and bus stranded on the roadside.
Jet Henley, to his dying day, was always proud of his St. Louis Bomber pedigree, whether wearing his black game jersey or T-shirt, or traveling to San Diego in 2006 to see the Bomber Super League Game against OMBAC.
In one of his last conversations with Dierker, just a few weeks before his death, Jet, recalled the Bombers saying, “ Hey, how are Kyle and the Bombers doing? Next time I get back to St. Louis, let’s swing by Thurmer’s for a cold 9-0-5. I love those guys.” God bless John “The Jet” Henley. They don’t make them like that any more. A Bomber for life and beyond!
The St. Louis Bombers want to begin to honor those who have helped pave the way for the club. Vic started his rugby career at fly half but moved into srum half where he became a staple of the team. Vic settled in very comfortably at . Vic lways enjoyed that wherever he went the Bombers were recognized as an elite organization and was always proud to be affiliated with the club.
- Age: 71
- When played: Vic played his first season for the Bombers in the spring of 1965, however he had been around rugby for a long time, even practicing with the St Louis Ramblers at the age of 13 in 1955 and playing some matches in his younger days with the now extinct St Louis Rebels. His high school football coach, Gene Gladstone played for the Bombers and because of that he was always around the playing fields.In the early 60’s Vic was part of the very first team at Truman State University in Kirksville MO, but had a tough few years getting matches due to player numbers and long travel times for games.
Vic played competitively with he Bombers until 1982, and of course made several comebacks. Interestingly, Vic has played rugby in every decade since the 1950’S, and intends on keeping fit to be ready to play in the 2020s! That is legendary!
- Position: Scrum-half. Vic had actually started at Fly half in his first season until the current 9, his former high school football coach Gene Gladstone, retired. At that time Vic moved in and settled in very comfortably at the scrum half position with the task, as he described it, of simply “taking it from the forwards and giving it to the backs”.
- What did you enjoy most about the Bombers?: The camaraderie amongst the players was always very strong and is something that Vic really enjoyed. He also noted that whenever he would travel, no matter where it was in the USA, if he got in a discussion with someone who knew rugby, they would always be in awe when he said he was from the St Louis Bombers. There was a tremendous recognition for the club amongst the US rugby community as being an elite organization, with very dedicated and hard working members.
- What doing now?: Vic is now retired and enjoys spending time with his 6 grandkids, staying fit where he can and looking forward to his next chance to pull on the rugby boots.
- Other interesting stories or facts?: Vic recalled a couple of stories that demonstrate the great success of the Bombers back in the early 60s with mention of some fellow players from that time. Firstly, he mentioned that at the time he joined the team, the Bombers had no points scored against them in their previous season of 1964, and found it very amusing that there were players, such as Tom Rolf, who played an entire season having never received a kick-off!
He also mentioned a player and friend of his by the name of Cliffy who played hooker (and apparently was also a great dancer!) and Vic recalls that Cliffy had NEVER lost a hook, even when it was the other sides feed! That really is amazing.
Vic is seen in the picture in a trademark “flying scrumhalf” position distributing out to the backs against the now extinct Norsemen of North St Louis. The other Bombers pictured here from left to right are John Mowat and Deke Dicandia.