Brian Hensman

“As a kid I was very sporty, mainly football, gymnastics and cricket. I never made the school footy team as our weekly football was a coach ride away and the smell of diesel made me sick, hence never at my best. However in an after school club, where we played 5 aside,my team ( I was the goal keeper), won the North London Comp. medals were presented by the lady Mayoress. Our 4 outfield players were all playing for the London School Boys team, they played at Highbury & Whitehart Lane, I was very jealous.

My only thing of note at Cricket, was in the nets one day( at Middlesex county cricket school), when Eric Russell( once an England opener) bowled to me, asking me to play a forward drive on the on side. I hooked him through the covers, he protested that I had played the wrong shot, I said “ if you had bowled it correctly I would have played the shot you requested of me, to which he called me a cheeky ginger headed little “B”.

We didn’t do loads of gymnastics, but always performed a display for parents at the end of year. One routine in particular stands out, a forward dive over a full box with forward roll as you hit the mat. I always had to go last ,as I had so much natural spring they had to remove the springboard otherwise I might have shot the landing mat. This natural spring was put to good use in the school house games at the end of my last year. I won the high jump,100 m hurdles and our 4×100 m relay team won, a great performance all round.

Now at Work. I played a little tennis, but football was my love. At 16 I started playing in a MANs team, eventually playing goalkeeper in the first team, where we won either the cup or league every season. In a cup semi we got hammered, but won 2-1. The news report in the Islington gazette must have mentioned my performance 15 or more times, what a game, just great!

The team used to let me play in the forward line in friendly games, in one I scored 5 goals, they never let me out again. I eventually left to become an out player.

Getting older now, married with 2 children, living in Hertfordshire, played W/E footy for local teams, now an outfield player. I also played for the PO Towers Saturday team, a good standard. By that time I was what you would now call a no. 10. Very fit, all over the pitch and scoring goals. I managed to get into the works Area team. Being paid to travel round playing footy, great! Unfortunately I had only one game. In 1967, I had a scooter and on the way home from work got taken out by a head on collision with a car. Not my fault, but resulted in 11 weeks in hospital with a fractured leg requiring traction. It was 6 months before I could go back to work, with my leg now just over 1” shorter. Luckily, my local physio dept. was run by a gent who also ran a W/E football team. He invited a number of his patients back to the physio weekly in the evening to play football in the hall, followed by a dip in the hydrotherapy pool.

Eventually, at about 35 I had to give up football. I had a back injury caused by me taking the long throws. I tried many cures to resolve the problem, the hospital for physical medicine at Goodge St. osteopaths etc Crystal Palace’s football club doctor, ugh ! he was an animal !! Eventually I went to a spiritualist church that did “ hands on healing “ . 1 visit- never had the problem since.

Married with kids, not much sport after football, it’s a bit of a void in my memory. I did start playing table tennis, inter club matches and really enjoyed it. Bognor didn’t seem to have any T/T clubs, so it’s only on cruises that I play now, I can still hold my own!

In my mid 40s I started to playing badminton, enjoyed it a lot. Found a club when we moved to Bognor, but again had to give it a miss as my knee kept collapsing, many years later had to have keyhole surgery, not a total success but an improvement.

I’ve omitted to mention golf, whilst still at New Malden and having just met Paula in 1996, she brought me some golf lessons for Christmas in 1997. Afterwards I went to the 2 tier driving range, met a group of retired people and started playing regularly at Richmond Park. When we moved south I joined Chichester golf course it seemed really good value compared to Bognor & Littlehampton golf courses, low joining fee,2 x 18 hole courses, a 9 hole par 3 and a driving range. I’m still there, once or twice a week, now only spring to autumn and only if the weathers good! Got my handicap down to 11, which on Chichester’s Cathedral course, I was well pleased with. 

Getting older now, 75 in July, still playing but off of 16.In the winter, it’s now snooker and indoors bowls, I’ve always enjoyed a social game of summer green bowls, so decided when I dropped winter golf I joined the local indoors bowls club playing both roll ups and league games.

I should add that although my life seems to be totally sport oriented, lm a keen gardener, do all my own decorating and up til recently walked our 3 dogs. Oh, and do everything that my lovely wife requires of me!

 

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