Mon 24 Jun 2019 15:56

Unsurprisingly, Wolverhampton RUFC was founded in a pub - the old 'Star and Garter' in Victoria Street, Wolverhampton. Several of the founding fathers, including Charles Mander, were at Rugby School together in the 1820's. In 1875, they ran a 'rugger' school in the town and founded the club. Early matches were played near the 'Halfway House' on the Tettenhall Road and later played at West Park, Crowther Road and Danescourt before settling at Castlecroft in 1950.

Between the wars, the club welcomed such names as Norman Dickensen, Jim Timmis, Gwyn Bayliss, Teddie Iles, Alfred Baker and Tom and Gordon Rutherford. All these men served the club for many years as players and officials. In the mid 1930's, the fixture list included Handsworth, Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale as well as our old adversaries Stoke, Walsall, Burton and Stafford. How fortunes have changed! The Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 1926 and the Diamond Jubilee in 1937 with matches against teams raised by the President of the RFU.

After the war the club bought from Ansells Brewery for £3000, the ground we now call home. 3 Nissen huts were erected as changing rooms and clubhouse. New faces such as John Thompson, Philip Page and Bobby Ireson started in the post war era. Towards the end of the fifties stalwarts such as Alan Walker, Brian Wordley, Ian Creed and Mike Parr started appearing in team sheets. Gerry Jones, a schoolmaster from the Municipal Grammar School captained the side from 1958-60 and his skill and experience set the tone for the next decade or so. The new clubhouse was opened in 1960 with another all star match. The sixties saw the emergence of Vic Hall, Nick Hemmings, Roger Ashton, Ron Davies and Tony Hill. They were joined later in the decade by Bob Bracey, John Owen and Brian Mansell, who was an early recruit from Regis Comprehensive School. Along with M.G.S and Tettenhall College Regis provided a steady stream of players at this time. Spanning the sixties and seventies were Martin Cooper, who achieved an England trial whilst still with the club, Bill Tranter, Steve Bowden, Leo Harding a welshman from Cambridge University and later Jim Sherratt. At this time the club boasted a back row including Dave Elliott and Dave Foulkes to rival the 3 'Ps' (Pratley, Pennington and Parr) of a decade earlier. In 1975 the club celebrated its Centenary against Moseley and a week of dinners and dances.

Mini rugby had begun in 1972 and during the late seventies, rugby began its evolution to the competitive world we know today. The Staffordshire Cup began as did the Midland Merit table which coincided with the development of a young, powerful side under the coaching of Mike Parr. Built around a pack containing Jim Sherrat and a young Graham Smith, captained by Gordon Doble, this side won the Midland Merit and came close to winning the Staffordshire Cup on several occasions.

When the Courage league was born, the club found itself in the Midlands Division One. The Staffordshire Cup was finally won in 1988, but the following season, the team was relegated to Division Two of the Midlands. At the end of the 1991/92 season, the club was promoted into Midlands Division One again. Another entertaining side including yet another back row of note. Thompson, Holland and Day provided the backbone to an exciting young side coached by Stuart Jardine. Since then the club has fallen back somewhat due to financial pressures in the professional era. In 1998/9 we were relegated to Midlands Division 2 and only avoided relegation last season through league re-organisation. We are currently in Midlands 1 West.

Whatever the form of the team, Wolverhampton has always played an enjoyable and exciting style of rugby which is reflected in the excellent social side of the club.

Here at Wolverhampton Rugby Club, we have a very active Mini and Junior Section running teams from Under 7's up to Colts. Every weekend during the season, 150 plus youngsters are training or playing the game of rugby competitively. Our coaches are always pleased to welcome new players at any time during the season.

We look forward to the future with pride in our past.

news articles