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Holley is a true Cardiff rugby evergreen.

FORMER Cardiff forward Tom Holley, MBE can lay claim to being the oldest living former player of the club, shortly reaching the age of 97.

Holley gave years and years of service to the club, though there is still another player alive, threequarter Graham Hale, who also appeared in 1938 for the Blue and Blacks.

Both Holley and Hale were local men with Holley having played in the famous Mallett Cup in Cardiff, reaching the final in 1937 and winning with Spillers and was a winner again with Cardiff Dockers in 1948.

Hale had joined from Cardiff HSOB and was a Prisoner of War before returning and representing Wales in Victory Internationals.

Holley was noted in The Palestine Post for his part in a 1942 match at Mount Scopus in aid of The Malta Relief Fund.

Wales met England on the Palestine field and won 5-3 with the Wales try being 'made by the best of the forwards, Holley of Cardiff, who sold a perfect dummy, completely fooling the England defence and sent a perfect pass to Horace Edwards (Neath & Cardiff) centre, who went between the posts'.

He came home, having lost his best playing years to war-time, but played on in the Cardiff and Athletic teams until 1949.

He then became a trainer and masseur for Cardiff, both Varsities, visiting touring sides and the WRU. His brother Arthur, a wing, appeared for the Athletic and represented the District against Cardiff.

Among Tom's many posts was one with the Argentina touring team to Britain in 1976. The manager was eminent surgeon Dr Carlo Contepomi, whose two sons played for their country.

Goal-kicking ace Felipe Contepomi, a doctor, later asked Tom to fill in tour details in a book for his father, as Holley was with them in the match against Cardiff that the tourists won 29-25 and he saved the life of prop Mario Carluccio.

His MBE followed that won also by his late father, for heroism at Cardiff Docks in wartime and Tom later became secretary of the International Baseball Board.

He has never retired and works as a legal clerk, with decades of experience behind him, including 45 years service to Cardiff Rugby Club.

CAPTION(S):

Tom Holley playing for Cardiff Past vs Cardiff Present in 1948. Captain is the great Wilf Wooller. Tom is middle row standing first player on left next to ref and committeeman
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 9, 2013
Words:399
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