With great sadness I report the passing of former Poly player Bill Searby. He passed away at home on the13th October after a brave nearly 20 year battle with Cancer.
Bill joined the Poly from the Neptune club in 1952 and in an era ruled by huge almost unstoppable pit men like Terry Miller, Les Baldwin , Phil Jones and our own Pete Messider. Bill became one of the games finest defenders and led Poly to their first ever National title in 1956
I first saw Bill in action that year playing for the Southern Counties in a practice game against the Great Britain team prior to the 56 Melbourne Olympics. The pit man for GB was the mighty Terry Miller a player so good that he was flown to Italy most weeks to represent a leading club side there. Bill marked him out of the game and the South went on to win the game. Sadly the only change the selectors made to the team was to swap the keepers and the Souths Arthur Grady (Chopper) a former Poly player got the nod. However there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that Bill should have made the team and become an Olympian on his performance that night.
Bill also played a big part in my Polo future having seen me play for my local team in 1956 he invited me to join the Poly. I was very reluctant to move on but I was persuaded by my team captain Don Newbold that it was the right move for me. The following season 1957 thanks to Bill I was selected for GB.
Also in 1957 Bill was a member of the Poly team that travelled to Moscow to take part in the World Youth Games, The GB team had been invited but at that time they would not travel to behind the Iron Curtain. The invite was then passed on to the Poly as National Champions, we were refused permission to travel by the ASA but went anyway. Once there with Bill running our defence the Poly team finished 4th out of 12 National teams only beaten by Olympic Champions Hungary, Russia an East Germany.
Bill was a wonderful club man and friend and I think the finest defender that I ever played behind
Bill leaves devoted wife Julia, loving children Claire Stephen and David and six grandchildren.Those wishing to celebrate his life on the 9th November are invited to contact the family for details.
- Neil May