Updated: Jun 24
Exeter Chiefs Supporters’ Club is sorry to note the passing of Barrie Carless, a former captain of Exeter Rugby Club (1963-65) and their first coach in the 1970’s.
Barrie was born and brought up in the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales. After his schooling in Wales, he came to train as a sports and history teacher at St Luke’s College, Exeter. Following his graduation from St. Luke’s, Barrie stayed in the locality, joining the staff of Bramdean School, in Homefield Road, Heavitree, where he remained until he retired.
The son of a professional soccer player who had appeared for Plymouth Argyle and Cardiff City, Barrie initially played the round ball game. Although standing only 5 feet 7 inches (1.70m), he made a name for himself as a goal-keeper with Barry Town and Merthyr Tydfil in the Southern League and later Crewe Alexandra in the Football League. In Exeter, he switched his allegiance to rugby with considerable success. A versatile player, Barrie figured at centre, fly-half and scrum half for Exeter, although his preference was for fly-half. He was a balanced and elusive runner with splendid all round handling and kicking skills with a very competitive edge to his game.
Having been appointed captain of the club at the start of the 1963-4 season, he took training to a new level, insisting on a more rigorous and scientific approach, as well as developing tactics!! His work paid off as, at the end of the season, the senior team had won 29 and drawn three of the 42 games played.
Exeter Rugby Club President, Bob Staddon reflected on playing alongside Barrie, ” I was a late replacement in my first game for Exeter Chiefs away to Bristol on a Wednesday evening in October, 1964. I played in the centre with Barrie (captain) at stand-off. Bristol had a host of internationals including Richard Sharp at stand-off and Roger Hosen at full back. I remember Barrie having a super game, though sadly we went on to lose 16-19”.
After his playing career, Barrie remained a loyal supporter of Exeter Rugby, attending former players’ days as well as formal Chiefs functions with his wife Sara.
He will be sorely missed by his family and friends.