Hamlin, Mike

Mike Hamlin was a slim, elusive fly-half and excellent kicker from the hand. He knew how to pull the strings and run the game to play to the strengths of the Cherry & Whites. He was always endeavouring to keep the Gloucester pack going forward. He was also a competent place kicker, but his career corresponded with those of Paul Ford and Tim Smith, who were first choices in that department.

Mike was born on 10 March 1958 in Gloucester, and was educated at Oxstalls School, Gloucester. At the age of 16 he joined local club, Coney Hill. Two years later he moved to Cheltenham, where his brother Maurice was captain. Mike made the short journey to Kingsholm for the start of the 1982-83 season, making his first appearance on 1 September against Stroud. In his second game against Rosslyn Park, he scored his first points for the club, with a conversion and drop goal. Later in the season he kicked four penalties against Neath. ‘Hambo’ made 18 appearances in that first season, but from the start of the next term he cemented his place as first choice fly-half. His first try came in November 1983 in a game against Glamorgan Wanderers.

In November/December 1984, Mike scored tries in four successive games against Exeter University, London Irish, Loughborough Students and Leicester. That season Gloucester had a good run in the John Player Cup, and Mike played in all four rounds, including the losing semi-final to Bath at Kingsholm 11-12. Indeed, he was such a regular that he appeared in 41 games, including a run of 27 games in a row to the end of the season.

The 1985-86 season saw the regional selectors take an interest in the Cherry and Whites’ fly-half. He played against London, and against the same opponents in the following season. He appeared in all three of the South & South West’s games in 1987 against London, the Midlands and the North. He would play four more times over the 1989-91 seasons. In 1989 Mike was selected for the England B tour of Spain.

‘Hambo’ was made club captain for the 1989-90 season. He had a battle-hardened group of players under his command. Tim Smith was an excellent kicker at full-back, Derrick Morgan and Jim Breeze were on the wings, and Don Caskie and veteran Richard Mogg partnered in the centre. Marcus Hannaford was his long-term scrum-half partner. The front row was formidable with Nigel Preedy, Kevin Dunn and Richard Pascall. Nigel Scrivens and John Brain were the hard working second row and the back row was outstanding, comprising Ian Smith, John Gadd and Mike Teague. For nearly all the season the team carried all before them, and with two games left, Gloucester topped the Courage League table and had the chance of winning both the league and the John Player Cup. The last league game was against Nottingham away; Gloucester had only to secure the victory to be proclaimed league champions. The Cherry and Whites had already won 26-16 that season at Nottingham in the cup and confidence was high. However, Gloucester seemed flat and lost the game 3-12, handing the league title to Wasps. The cup final at Twickenham was the following week. That game proved to be a disaster and Bath won 48-6! So, a season that promised so much, achieved nothing.

Mike retained the captaincy for the following 1990-91 season. An amazing 1252 points were scored, which was a club record, not beaten until 2001-02. The league campaign was mediocre resulting in a mid-table finish, and there was an early exit from the John Player Cup to Harlequins. In November 1991, Mike was in the team which won at Cardiff for the first time since 1935.

Mike played for London Welsh in the 1992-93 season. He made 32 appearances and broke the club scoring record with 295 points.

‘Hambo’ returned to Kingsholm for the next two seasons, but only played a handful of games. He made his final appearance on 13 December 1994 against his old club, Cheltenham, kicking two conversions and two penalties. He had made 345 appearances, scoring 66 tries, 51 conversions, 36 penalties and 28 drop goals for a total of 561 points. The 28 drop goals placed him fourth in Gloucester’s history behind Mickey Booth, Willie Jones and Terry Hopson.

Mike continued to play for Coney Hill after his Kingsholm days were over.

Comments about this page

  • Thanks for the correction, Tiffany – I’ve updated his Profile, above, and we will also update his entry in our “Gloucester Rugby – The Players” book.

    By Dick Williams (23/03/2024)
  • Great read about Mike Hamlin, the only correction he was born in 1958 not 1960.

    By Tiffany (22/03/2024)

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