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Mike Lawrence has his anthology moment sorted for 2020.
For 21 years, the appreciative ancestor has agilely tracked his son’s career through cuttings, photographs and mementos and two Saturdays ago came a anamnesis to top the lot.
Sixty-eight account into England’s Six Nations achievement over Italy, on came cap cardinal 1416 —Ollie Lawrence, Mike’s alone son. In pockets beyond the West Midlands, from Burton to Birmingham, the Lawrences celebrated. Mike and his wife Sue were bound bottomward in Bearwood arising up.
Centre Ollie Lawrence fabricated his England admission in the Six Nations achievement over Italy
‘It was aloof mum and dad calm with a Guinness, rosé wine and affluence of tissues!’ Mike tells Sportsmail.
‘Our next-door neighbour is rugby mad so she was agreeable and we had hundreds of buzz calls and argument letters through the bold with bodies adage “he’s on!”’
After Ollie sang some Adele in the acceptable post-match commemoration for new caps, he video-called his parents from Rome.
‘We’ve never apparent him animated so much!’ recalls his father.
‘He’s been like a Cheshire Cat for days!’
Dad Mike has tracked his son’s career through cuttings, photographs and mementos
Ollie’s grandmothers, Margaret and Pat, are ‘proud as punch’ too and now accept pictures of their grandson with the Six Nations trophy.
‘I’ve got an anthology of all his seasons, and accept a anthology of annihilation in the cardboard and added photographs that go with it,’ Mike explains.
‘I do that every year, so back our grandchildren access – hopefully not too soon! – we can appearance them.
‘It’s amount us a advantageous in papers! Oliver doesn’t accept any brothers or sisters so we’re able to blemish him as our alone child.’
Mike and Sue Lawrence, who met alive for the Chicken Pages, are absolutely adherent to their son.
Ferrying annular a multi-talented antic adolescent takes some doing.
The appreciative 21-year-old, cutting his aboriginal England cap, holds the Six Nations trophy
‘I did all the travelling, demography him to sport,’ says Mike.
‘But mum consistently fabricated abiding he had a balmy bath, tea on the table with the abrasion apparatus accessible to apple-pie his bedraggled kit.’
There accept been several shirts to abrade over the years.
Born in Halesowen Mike was a accompaniment with Moseley in the 1970s and 80s. He played adjoin the brand of Clive Woodward, Les Cusworth, Dusty Hare and Paul Dodge and aboriginal took Ollie bottomward to comedy tag at his club; but it was football that aboriginal took Ollie’s attention.
Aged seven, arena at Hamstead Diamonds, Aston Villa came calling. Ollie, whose dad supports Wolves, absolutely abutting Birmingham City’s bureaucracy at eight afore affective to Villa at nine, but never absolutely enjoyed football’s restrictions.
Mike approved to advise him golf, but Ollie was initially alone absorbed in the driver, so that went.
Lawrence on the allegation while arena for Bromsgrove 1st XV against Clifton age-old 17
It was candid area his antic passions were afire at Old Swinford Hospital School.
Between the ages of 10 and 15 he played for Warwickshire with Tom Banton, now England’s one-day opener. As ever, Mike was chauffeur.
‘One Thursday it was Yorkshire away, again Monday was Lancashire away!’ he recalls.
‘One year I took all of my anniversary anniversary to booty him to candid games.
‘He started at Harborne Candid Club, and could hit the brawl miles!
‘He went to the England aptitude centre at Loughborough for a brace of years, and at 15 would go in at three and could basin about 70mph.
‘I bethink him arena Middlesex and scoring 118 not out, again accepting addition hundred at Yorkshire.
Lawrence, actuality arena for Old Swinford Hospital Academy age-old 15, was a academy star
‘But already he’d done his $.25 he got a bit apathetic – 55 overs in the acreage is a continued time back you’ve done your six or ten overs.’
When abrogation OSH Ollie was a academy star, after demography rugby added actively accepting fabricated England Under-16s.
Sheer admeasurement helped, but affective to Bromsgrove Academy on a antic scholarship for Sixth Form, Ollie bare more.
‘He was a bit of a loose-cannon, shall we say?’ says Tony Windo, the rugby drillmaster there.
‘But an aberrant talent. He was actual self-confident.
‘For so abundant of his adolescent activity he could ascendancy amateur himself – we approved to accomplish abiding he was allotment of the team.’
The academy had produced England internationals Ben Foden, Matt Mullan and Andy Goode but rated Ollie the best they had seen.
‘We already played RGS High Wycombe in the schools Champions Bays and exhausted them 37-22 – Ollie denticulate 30 points,’ remembers Windo.
‘For a adolescent lad to do that was sensational.’
They gave him the captaincy, to advance some added aggregate thinking, and accomplished his acutely aberrant talent.
‘He’s a big personality and a big player,’ says Windo.
‘Because he so able it was “give it to Ollie and he’ll score”. There was activity to appear a time area he wasn’t able to do that so we had to assignment on his all-round skill.
‘He can now run adamantine lines, big allurement lines, and can offload out of contact.’
With the England Under-17s, 18s and 20s he kept chalking off achievements. By 18 he fabricated his Worcester admission and was anon cogent himself on and off the angle through stand-out performances and haircuts.
‘Oliver’s godmother did an anthology for his 21st altogether of all the altered hairstyles he’s had over the years,’ Mike action through his Brummie accent.
‘One of his friends’ mum is a hairdresser, so he’s had all sorts… absolute yellow, purple, achromatic in, the bird’s nest, high-top thing!
Lawrence excelled at football as a boy and played for Aston Villa and Birmingham adolescence teams
‘Now he says “why did you let me accept that?” but he admired it at the time!’
‘He’s confident,’ Alan Solomons, his Worcester coach, says of Ollie whose ability has fatigued comparisons with Manu Tuilagi.
‘His anatomy gives him that. He’s 101kg (15st 12lbs), so a big man, with a able anatomy appropriate throughout. He’s a big able adolescent and a activating athlete.
‘We played Stade Francais in 2018-19 and Ollie was incredible. Their drillmaster Heyneker Meyer said to me “who the hell is that guy?”
‘I’m not afraid he has appear through.’
When abiding home to his parents, as anytime Ollie presented his dad with his shirt to frame, and let him try on the cap. You doubtable it will not be the aboriginal blissful moment to stick in Mike’s scrapbook.
‘I said to Oliver “son, I can assuredly accept you’re a lot bigger amateur than I was!”’ smiles dad.
‘Seeing Saturday fabricated it all worthwhile. It’s article we’ll never forget, but hopefully one day we can see him with 80,000 bodies agreeable and shouting – that would be nice.’