Stodds' rugby poem hits the right notes with former players

Former rugby player turned poet Philip StoddartRugby player, successful businessman, a passion for literacy plus having a book published on Amazon for writing poems.

It has been quite a journey for local entrepreneur and family man Philip Stoddart.

The tough as teak former forward began his rugby journey playing in Haverfordwest County Secondary Modern which later was re-named Sir Thomas Picton School.

Stodds, as he is called - started out as a young raw prop, second row, playing for Haverfordwest RFC and Pembrokeshire Youth back in the 1980s.

He then moved into the Haverfordwest first XV team who back then played in the old but never to be forgotten Pembrokeshire League learning his trade in the boiler house.

Stodds had a spell for Llangwm and his game improved immensely when Narberth RFC who had just entered the newly formed National League back in the 1990s came knocking on his door.

Stodds rose to the challenge with a gusto to playing at a higher level at the Lewis-Lloyd Memorial Ground like a duck to water, he rightly fully deserved full praise for his brilliant performances with The Otters over many seasons which fans still fondly speak of today.

Stodds is now working as a farmer after stepping down after over 30 years working as director and owner of his family run business Stoddart Tyres.

Stodds has now turned to farming but is not content with working on the land, during the lockdown he began posting poems on Facebook - which has drawn a huge response from the public.

He has already published a book on Amazon which is still available to buy, but recently he posted a terrific poem ‘Come On Lad Give Um Stick’ all about the encouragement and support he had received from his dad Ray to play rugby.

This poem has resonated with several former players who have commented on his post.

Below is the poem and some of the comments. has thoroughly enjoyed what he has called his pass time to scribble poems and we say, keep up the writing Stodds - as it certainly has put a smile on many people’s faces during these awful pandemic times.



Poem – ‘Go On Lad Give Um Stick’

He pushed me on that sodden turf... stud popped, and heel pitted,
Along with another dozen all shapes and sizes,
Some whimpering on that safe touch line ...dads bent over them.... advising,
As I just got a shove and a nod,
From my dad for me he was god,
New booted and rugby suited,
My first time on the pitch up till now I’d only ever run on at half time with my brother wellie clad as we watched the town play... each Saturday with my dad,
I’ll never forget his words as he pushed me out on to that pitch “go on lad give um stick”.
That day in that life giving mud and clay,
That man maker of games I still wish I could play,
The friends I made along the way,
The lessons it taught....
harnessing fear, when to shed that salty tear,
Courage... compassion... humility... lose with dignity... trusting others... men that will forever remain at your side,
Each game I played I can still recall.... not every result ... tackle ... pass or maul,
More the time spent with men whom I’d happily go over the top with that oval ball,
Them supporters with who I’d drink... replaying each game over and over,
never to leave that club house sober,
Thank you, dad, for
That “Go On Lad Give Um Stick” and the shove,
Though not seen too often now ... back then it was called tuff love.
Phil Stodds


Facebook comments

John Llewellyn
Brilliant Phil, my father never watched me play. I wasn’t too bad a player, school captain, Pembs vice captain and told that ‘I had it’ to go further, sadly this didn’t happen due to a back injury. Again, I repeat myself my father never watched me play. However, I’ve been told that he would brag about me in The Belle, drinking his beer, saying ‘my boy scored up in Cardiff today’.
You were so lucky to have Raymond watch you play, I try to watch my son play as much as I can, you can’t get those memories back.

Neil Morgan
I’ve played rugby on every continent on God’s earth however the formative years are the ones you hark back to when reminiscing perfectly encapsulated by Stodds. Cheers Matey!

Robert Vaughan
One of your best Philip Stoddart, my dad rarely watched me play, he was always working, but he wanted to know everything about the game once I was home. Love how your words generate real emotion inside of you...thank you.

Simon Gerson
That poem stirs the cockles of my heart. My days in Llangwm were some of the best of my life. Made friends from all walks of life. Got friends in all the clubs of Pembs.
One of your best Phillip Phil Stoddart. I love your analogy with the 1st world war. I often used to look round the changing room and think, I Would have most of these boys in a trench with me.
I was talking to Hoss the other day. He’ll love this one.
Rugby was a great leveller.

William Gerwyn Howells
When I played for Whitland I’d work (hobble) at bagging coal in the coal yard at Whitland in the morning.
In those days, the shovel we used was quite big.
Five or six shovels full to a 1 hundred weight. Aye lad those were the days.
Probably mentioned before Phill our tussle in Llangwm
I delivered a punch at you and before it landed, you’d punched me back.