It was with great sadness that we report that Tony Brown passed away on 21 September 2021.
Tony played for Southend RFC between 1995 and 2001. A black belt in Judo , Tony turned up at Westcliff Rugby Club in 1988 and said that he wanted to ‘give rugby a go’. This was the start of a long rugby career, which started and ended at Westcliff RFC. However, in the middle of his career, Tony had a very successful few years at Southend RFC, where he made many good friends. In 1995/96 season , he was really at the peak of his physical powers, and he had a very successful season in Southend 1st team, which finished 2nd in the league and missed out on promotion only due to a late RFU restructure.
Tony trained very hard that season and gained a reputation as a hard tackling and physical no.6 , more often than not dumping opponents backwards in a tackle. Tony’s mauling strength was also phenomenal. Frequently he would enter a maul which the opposition had comfortably secured, only to emerge with the ball 30 seconds later, handing it on a plate to his team’s surprised scrum half! One such example was an away game against league winners Esher in the ‘95/96 season, which Southend narrowly won. Tony was man of the match that day. The Esher forwards frequently lost possession with Tony in there working tirelessly, and stripping the ball from them in contact situations.
After his spell in the 1st team, Tony dropped to the Priors, where he became a successful and popular team captain, with the team winning the Merit table league 1 and reaching Essex 2nd team cup final. Tony then had a break from the game for a time and returned to his original club Westcliff, where he saw out the rest of his career , finally playing social rugby in Westcliff 3rds. It was in recent years when Southend Bishops (4ths) played Westcliff 3rds in the Merit table 4 matches, that old friendships were revived as Tony knew and had played with many of the ‘old stagers’ still playing for the Bishops.
Tony and his wife Lisa made many friends at Southend RFC over the years he played there and beyond. He was a very amiable and sociable man. Tony loved a party when he was younger, and you always knew you were on for a good and fun night, if Tony was out! His passion for wearing loud and colourful shirts on a night out was legendary! He had a great sense of humour and an infectious laugh. Always cheerful, Tony had a kind and generous nature, he would ,for example, help new players or younger guys who could not drive, going out of his way to give them lifts to training and matches.
Tony will be sadly missed by all many rugby friends he made over the years, both at Westcliff RFC, where he spent most of his rugby career , but also at Southend RFC, where he had a few great seasons and left his mark at the club , both on and off the pitch. Tony’s friends at Southend RFC wish to send sincere condolences to Lisa and the rest of Tony’s family and to his many friends at Westcliff RFC. Those who knew Tony will never forget him , a unique character, great family man, and a top rugby man.
Tony's Funeral will be on 21st October at 13:00 at Westleigh Baptist church followed by the burial at St Lawrence church in Eastwood and afterwoods to Westcliff Rigby Club, All will be welcome.