Rugby: Penguins v Guy's Hospital Present XV (The Scanlan Cup)
Saturday 22rd April 2023
Paul Scanlan played for Guy's 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th XVs from 1984 to 1993 and was a founder member of the Penguins XV. He was 1st XV Vice-Captain, Student XV Captain and a GHRFC Vice-President. He qualified in 1989 and was the first of his year to achieve Consultant status, as an orthodontist working in SE London and Kent. His irrepressible humour, energy and zest for living were tragically curtailed by an acute illness which rapidly took his life. He remains sorely missed and is remembered by the annual Penguins v Guy's Present XV match which is played for The Scanlan Cup.
Portrait painting of Paul Scanlan, which hangs currently on the wall of the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham, Kent, at the entrance
to the Paul Scanlan Orthodontic Suite.
Victorious Penguins captain, Rhys Davies, hoists the coveted Scanlan Cup aloft
The 2023 Cup Match Write-Up
Under a surprisingly clear and warm April sky, an assortment of Penguins and Students met at 10 o’clock on hallowed ground at Honor Oak Park for the annual Scanlan Cup, the traditional season finale. We were honoured to have Tim Scanlan, Paul’s brother, in attendance to cheer on both sides and present the Cup at the end of the match.
With a squad of 25 or so, the Penguins had strength in depth and after brief reintroductions, some discussion on lineout calls and back row moves, and a quick game of touch rugby we were ready for the off!
A brief obituary to Paul, was followed by the traditional minute’s silence.
Then battle commenced. Playing into the wind in the first half, the Penguins attacked towards the clubhouse. The first 15 minutes really were the pick of the match with both sides displaying fast running rugby, assisted by a referee who was happy to see a flowing game. Rauri Hadlington and Pete Gretton reunited as half backs, and Rhys Davies took up his favourite position as second row behind loosehead prop Ed Sheppard. Charlie West made a real impact at flanker, seeming to get to every breakdown first. The subsequent quick ball allowed Gretton to go wide and Andy Toogood crossed the line for the Penguins’ first try.
The students had two key threats, new club captain Tom Downie and tall outside centre, Griff Griffiths. These two impressive players linked up for the students’ first try, a 50 metre combination of silky skills and elusive running, and brought the scores level.
After this, the Penguins used their dominance of the set piece and weight at the breakdown. Marcus Pemberton and James Cuthbertson combined like in the good old days and the Penguins began to move clear. One stand-out moment was the try and conversion by COD Davies. He took a lineout on the halfway line, made the first breakdown and then linked up for an inside pass to score, and then to convert the extra 2 points. It wasn’t all plain sailing however as grey fox GP Ed Sheppard sustained a broken hand whilst tackling the heaviest man on the pitch – real bad luck.
The Penguins eventually triumphed 52-31 despite spirited resistance from the 14-man student side hastily assembled by the ever resourceful Dan Novelli. After the customary three cheers and handshakes, both teams joined under the posts for a photo and presentation of the Scanlan Cup to Rhys Davies by Tim Scanlan. Thanks then went to GHRFC President Ben Challacombe for kindly donating a bottle of champagne into the trophy for everyone to share.
The morning kick-off meant both teams were changed and into in the bar early. Much socialising took place, many of the students then headed off to a local pub, aptly named the Honor Oak, and many of the Penguins headed off for a restorative curry, prior to the GHRFC Ball at the Law Society that evening. At the Ball, traditional GHRFC speeches and awards were made and the PAC Student Council raised over £837 from a highly successful raffle.
The Penguins rugby team will reassemble for the Jersey Veterans’ 10 a side tournament 7-8th October 2023.
Tim Scanlan, Paul's brother, joins Penguins veterans on the sideline for the match
Penguins come in all sizes
Guys in Guy's Blazers
Both teams respectfully observing a minute's silence in memory of Paul Scanlan, at the start of the match
Post-match teams photo under the posts for posterity