Old Yardleians RFC: Club News

A tribute to Denziel Watts by his friend Dave Broadfield

Fri, 25 Feb 2022 12:00

Denziel Watts

It was Andy Dunn who introduced Denziel to the club in the early 70’s. Denziel recruited John Littleford who in turn brought me and that was the start of a 48 year friendship.
Denziel had a long playing career as a tight head. He was a good scrummager but also felt he was blessed with a good pair of hands. He wasn’t averse to throwing the odd dummy and thought he possessed the pass of a welsh scrum half. He actually represented the club at scrum half on more than one occasion.
Denziel was always a straight talker and said it as he saw it. If you’d had a good game he told you so and if you’d played badly he also let you know! Towards the end of his playing career he captained a very successful 3rd/4th team. He ran it as if it was a professional team and he gave little quarter to any player who might not be blessed with his skill. I remember one particular game where our winger had a particularly poor first half. In his half time team talk Denziel told him he’d had a poor game and was being subbed off ( I’ve modified his language somewhat here!). On being reminded that we had no subs Denziel said we would play with 14 and the poor winger could watch the second half and learn. After the match Denziel bought him beer put his arm round him and said it was all part of his development.
In addition to being a long standing player Denziel had a spell as club coach. He also had a significant role in the development of the new changing rooms, resourcing materials and overseeing much of the building work.
He loved the social aspect of the game and was never happier than when sinking pints after the game. He loved the club and it was a great sadness to him that ill  health stopped him visiting the club during the last decade.
Diabetes robbed him of his mobility and sadly during the Covid lockdowns Denziel had both legs amputated. He was just adjusting to life in a wheelchair when a diabetes related illness meant another spell in hospital, where he was finally taken by pneumonia.
Whether propping up the scrum,  propping  up the bar or listening to his rendition of “cock Robin” you will all have your memories of Denziel!

May he live long in our memory.
Rest in Peace my friend.

Dave Broadfield. 25th February 2022.

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