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Long lost amateur clubs


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I get the impression that the current situation is a continuing illustration of the evolution of sporting participation in wider society, and not just within RL, although things have been clouded somewhat by the change of playing season.

 

Teenagers will always be pulled in different directions, that's something we can't do much about. I did the same when I was 17 and for six months decided that I'd rather spend my time boozing and chasing women than getting my head stoved in every Sunday.

 

Club-wise, we've obviously lost the workplace teams, and teams based on pubs/social clubs have been in decline since at least the eighties - again, social change.

 

It seems to me that well-organised clubs based around a deep community link, possibly encompassing more than one sport and bringing in other activities as well are the future - the Manchester club that combines RL and handball one recent example.

 

Obviously, many local factors are also relevant - it's easier to get people together in a city, but maybe tougher to forge a club spirit. Clubs in smaller locations may struggle for sustainability, but then may gain from community links, shared facilities and official cooperation.

 

All in all, it's still reliant upon an army of volunteers running the thing well, making it attractive, bringing in a steady flow of new players, being visible in the community, and above all enjoying it! But things move on - it's no good trying to keep doing what worked in 1975, at least not all the time. Imagination, energy and evolution are all important as well.

I agree, I think rugby clubs could be 'sports' clubs and promote a variety of sports, and get more funding.
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Tameside Borough were formed in 1982 at a meeting at the Star pub in Ashton and survived until 1997 (somewhere I've still got the handbook we self-published of the 15 years in the Pennine League. I was chairman when the club played those matches in Perpignan and Dublin and remember the French game very well. We asked for an early kick off so that the players could enjoy a weekend in the city before going to the Test match on the Sunday. However something must have been lost in translation because when we arrived in Perpignan there posters advertising a game against Palau (kick off 3 pm) and St. Maries 5-30. After a quick piece of diplomacy by the coach Dave Whitehead and myself we managed to duck the Palau game but the St. Marie's game was put back to 8-30 on the Saturday night.  It doesn't take much imagination to guess what state the players were in come kick-off time. However with ten minutes to go we were level at 18-18 (despite having two French referees). Unfortunately our friendly hosts then brought on three fresh players (one of them a French international and we lost 42-18. However, we did get a much bigger trophy than the winning team and there was a late night reception at the town hall.  You can read all about it in Dave Hadfield's book Thirteen Winters (It is in a chapter called The Season of The Win). A player shortage caused the club to fold and switch to summer in the new National League Three but after a nomadic five-year existence playing at Oldham RU, Dukinfield RU and Ashton on Mersey RU we agreed that we were fighting a losing battle and the club folded completely.  But they were indeed happy days at Droylsden's Medlock Centre.

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Between 1977-1979 whilst in the Forces in London I played rugby League for Ealing in the London League. Our ground was adjacent to Heathrow airport so it was hard to hear instructions from the touchline what with all the planes going over. Our main rivals were Peckham who had a few antipodeans playing for them. I seem to recall that Ealing had a mixture of a few lads from up North (including myself) and several lads from Esher RU. We also played against a fledgling Oxford team I recall. Good lads, happy days.

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Hemel date from 1981 and Elmbridge from at least the 80s, not got a start date. South London are no connection.

The RLC wanted artificial regional clubs with names like West London not established clubs like Brent-Ealing and London Colonials. Nor did they want small town clubs like Huntingdon/St Ives (until they wanted numbers) or police teams. Thus when the winter London League collapsed only South London and Kingston were welcome because of their name (they would have preferred to stay winter if possible)

Skolars date to 1995 as the oldest London club but had to change name as well.

Elmbridge were previously Kingston, previously Surrey Heath and before that Wokingham and were formed in 1982 (from memory) and had a somewhat nomadic existence Lightwater/Esher RU/Byfleet/Guildford/BAE club etc) before moving in to what was then Old Johnians RU club as tenants. Subsequently took over the ground as RU side moved on merging with another RU club (if you think RL is dwindling, these 2 RU clubs used to each put out 2 or more sides & have both gone now).

One of the major problems of a lot of the London League clubs of the 80s & early 90s was that they were essentially run by one person & when that person left nobody was prepared to step in to replace them.

This also applies in a lot of other sports so RL isn't unique in teams coming and going.

My wife complains I selfishly stop her fulfilling her true ambition -

she really wants to be a rich widow

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Between 1977-1979 whilst in the Forces in London I played rugby League for Ealing in the London League. Our ground was adjacent to Heathrow airport so it was hard to hear instructions from the touchline what with all the planes going over. Our main rivals were Peckham who had a few antipodeans playing for them. I seem to recall that Ealing had a mixture of a few lads from up North (including myself) and several lads from Esher RU. We also played against a fledgling Oxford team I recall. Good lads, happy days.

BAA Lapwing Club IIRC, now gone and is a car park as BAA found they'd earn far more from that than a social club ! Played cricket there when working at Heathrow.

My wife complains I selfishly stop her fulfilling her true ambition -

she really wants to be a rich widow

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And a great job you did too, Mr Wilson.  I realised when I read my post back this morning that I'd put 1981 and not 82, my apologies for that.  I hope you are well.  I read on here that you are back up in Barrow?  My late mum's hometown.  We had some great times at the Medlock didn't we?   

 

Ex-Kirkholt.  Tameside, for a few years used to drink in the upstairs bar of the sports centre before moving to the cricket club across the way.  I pass the place regularly, our pitch is now a football pitch.  Games against Kirkholt, or any Rochdale team were feisty to say the least.  Didn't Kirkholt play on the pitch behind the pub opposite St Cuthberts School?  If so, your team was the one with the 6' 7" forward if I remember rightly, ha ha.  In my work now I travel all over the place and when in West Yorks I see all those village names we used to play against (By the way, Larry the Leit, I've worked in that TV mast at Emily Moor) and drink in, some great pubs in West Yorks.  To be honest, I'm not too sure which teams from the Pennine League are still going or now defunct (I much preferred the Pennine League to the NWCL). 

 

Mr Wilson:  Another addition to the story of the French trip.  When Ivan read out the advert in their local press (Ivan being the only one who could speak French) they thought we were Trafford Borough, not Tameside Borough.  Happy days and great memories.

 

Look after yourself PW. 

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Also, PW, you made us famous in the Daily Star by telling the world (lol) of our endeavours in the 0-0 draw against Fitton Hill, still famous around the Oldham area that match. I came on as sub in torrential rain and nearly won it in the final minute, losing my footing just before the line and getting tackled. Was the story linked to Rugby Union players pay demands at the time? I played in most of the games that "The Season of the Win" talks about but never got a mention (big sulk).

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Ex-Kirkholt.  Tameside, for a few years used to drink in the upstairs bar of the sports centre before moving to the cricket club across the way.  I pass the place regularly, our pitch is now a football pitch.  Games against Kirkholt, or any Rochdale team were feisty to say the least.  Didn't Kirkholt play on the pitch behind the pub opposite St Cuthberts School?  If so, your team was the one with the 6' 7" forward if I remember rightly, ha ha.  In my work now I travel all over the place and when in West Yorks I see all those village names we used to play against (By the way, Larry the Leit, I've worked in that TV mast at Emily Moor) and drink in, some great pubs in West Yorks.  To be honest, I'm not too sure which teams from the Pennine League are still going or now defunct (I much preferred the Pennine League to the NWCL).

 We played on a couple of pitches - one was just a bit closer to Rochdale than Cuthberts on Oldham Rd called Spring Hill and the other was at Hill Top School which became part of the set of the BBCs Waterloo Road "drama".  This was right on the side of the M62.

 

We had a few big lads but 6'7" is a bit too tall !!

 

I also preferred the Pennine to the NWCL although I only played 1 season in the NWCL.

 

If you are a Facebook user, I created a page with photos, league tables, match reports from th the team - just search for Kirkholt WMC.

Looks like it wer' organised by't Pennine League

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We played on a couple of pitches - one was just a bit closer to Rochdale than Cuthberts on Oldham Rd called Spring Hill and the other was at Hill Top School which became part of the set of the BBCs Waterloo Road "drama".  This was right on the side of the M62.

 

We had a few big lads but 6'7" is a bit too tall !!

 

I also preferred the Pennine to the NWCL although I only played 1 season in the NWCL.

 

If you are a Facebook user, I created a page with photos, league tables, match reports from th the team - just search for Kirkholt WMC.

This would have been in 1986, 22nd of March to be precise. I know this because Oldham RL were playing Castleford in the Challenge Cup Semi Final at Central Park, Wigan. Tameside had a game at Kirkholt which we tried to have postponed so we could all go to the match. It had been a great cup run by Oldham and I'd been to every game. I was sorely disappointed though, as the Pennine League refused to postpone. We ended up playing with a few of our main players missing (they'd gone to the game) and to cap it all off I was starting with a cold and was hoping not to play (I wish I'd gone to the Oldham game too). Kirkholt had a lad playing second row who was at least 6' 5", not large but tall and slim and was a nightmare to tackle. I kept running over to our line and asking how Oldham were getting on but they refused to tell me (which meant they were losing...lol).

I'll have a look at your facebook page. =)

Edit: I've been looking at the Pennine League tables for that year (on your facebook page) and it shows we were in div 3 and Kirkholt were div 8. Now, either this was a cup game (Rochdale Reilly) or someone else played on your pitch and I'm getting mixed up. I remember the pitch well, the top right hand corner (playing towards the road) used to go up the hill.

Edited by Claptout
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Edit: I've been looking at the Pennine League tables for that year (on your facebook page) and it shows we were in div 3 and Kirkholt were div 8. Now, either this was a cup game (Rochdale Reilly) or someone else played on your pitch and I'm getting mixed up. I remember the pitch well, the top right hand corner (playing towards the road) used to go up the hill.

I think you might be getting mixed up here - the pitch you describe sounds a bit like Spotland Rangers who played in Balderstone Park which is right on the edge of Kirkholt, near Oldham Road.

 

I played in every game for Kirkholt that season and I went to the Oldham v Cas game at Wigan.  I think both David and Glen Liddiard played for Oldham that day, Oldham lost and there was quite a bit of fighting during and after the game.

 

Also - the game I mentioned in my original post was Kirkholt 'A', don't know whether it was Tameside 'A' though.

Edited by Ex-Kirkholt

Looks like it wer' organised by't Pennine League

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  • 2 months later...

B.R.K. Ran from the Gildersome Liberal club not Churwell. Also Drighlington's open age side was already running when B.R.K. folded but a lot of the players went on to play for Drig.

I've been looking at all the old National Cup results, vaguely wondering why I'd never heard of Burwell, Reid and Kinghorn, but I never put two and two together, cos obviously I've heard of BRK, and spent years going past their Gildersome home on the bus.

 

I thought they only moved the the Liberal club in the 90s though, or was then when I noticed them putting new signs up outside or something?

www.rugbyleagueratings.com - more accurate than you might think. @rlratings

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Between 1977-1979 whilst in the Forces in London I played rugby League for Ealing in the London League. Our ground was adjacent to Heathrow airport so it was hard to hear instructions from the touchline what with all the planes going over. Our main rivals were Peckham who had a few antipodeans playing for them. I seem to recall that Ealing had a mixture of a few lads from up North (including myself) and several lads from Esher RU. We also played against a fledgling Oxford team I recall. Good lads, happy days.

Ealing became Brent-Ealing in 1989 when I started playing for them, we played somewhere in South Harrow, not far from Wasps ground, I can't remember the name of the ground, before moving to Northwick Park and then Mick McCombe our Kiwi coach managed to get a pitch next to a social club in Harlsden. I remeber playing Swindon, and going back to a Beefeater pub and having a steak meal as the landlord was a player (I think), and the Following week having to travel to Ipswich.

I then started a club in Hillingdon, and a lot of our players were from RAF Uxbridge (now sadly demolished), including my worst ever defeat against Surrey Heath of 0-106, the previous season I had kicked 12 goals against them, for Ealing, so they must have had some new players, and we were rubbish of course ;)

 

Have to agree with the last comment, Happy Days indeed. A lot of very happy memories.

Edited by Bleep1673
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Ealing were Hemel's first ever competitive fixture. We lost to them by one point 14-15 in a Southern Amateur Rugby League Div II fixture in October 1982 due to a late penalty against us in front of our posts for a voluntary tackle.

 

Most of the Hemel lads were still struggling with the concept of a tackle in those days so a 'voluntary' tackle was a complete mystery to them!

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  • 5 months later...

I remember playing in the Leeds & District ARL on a Sunday morning approx 1976/77/78 era. I played for the United Services Club. Others in our league at the time were......Station Hotel, BRK, Camerons Iron Works, Airedale College, Brassmoulders, Waterloo, Meanwood, Pudsey Crown, Halton Moor, Royal Park, Woodway.

It was a real tough league with us finishing 2nd to Waterloo.  I remember that Christmas being frozen over so we didnt play for months. We also got to the play offs at Bus Vale a couple of time but got beat by Shaw Cross and Yew Tree, both saturday league sides

Anyone with any info of these times it would be nice to hear from you

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During my recent house move I came across the Southern Amateur Rugby League (as it was in those days) 1985/86 yearbook. The London area clubs were Bexleyheath, Ealing, Fulham Amateurs, Fulham Travellers, Hounslow, London Colonials, Peckham, Peckham Pumas, Queen Mary College, Streatham Celtic, St. Mary's College and West London Institute. There were also clubs in Aberavon, Cheltenham, Hemel Hempstead (Bob Brown was the secretary and they were playing at Pennine way), Milton Keynes, Wokingham and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Brings back memories, as Terry Pratchett's said inside every old person is a young one wondering what happened!

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London Colonials were still til about 2000 and Wokingham are now Elmbridge Eagles but yeah the 1980s expansion largely all died off in the 90s and got replaced by a RU players in the summer model, rather than them being RL players first. Though the junior game is much better now than then and the elite amateur game has more of a structure, albeit a very shaky one reliant on reserve sides of pro clubs

Edited by bowes
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I remember me and an Aussie mate of mine playing against  Bexleyheath once. ( twenty two ? years ago )

 

I remember it being a long drive to get there and a not very appreciative audience on the touch line.

 

Bob Brown a true missionary if ever there was.

Edited by Trojan horse
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Can anybody remember teams around Wakefield from early 80's like Truck Components,Manor and Flanshaw also Bullcroft from Doncaster area and Sailors Home Knottingley.

there were teams like duke of york, jolly miller/kettlethorpe hotel, castle, walnut, donny transport. think its like 70's/early 80's. got info from my father in law. 

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I love this thread.

Me too. Some good reading here!

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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London Colonials were still til about 2000 and Wokingham are now Elmbridge Eagles but yeah the 1980s expansion largely all died off in the 90s and got replaced by a RU players in the summer model, rather than them being RL players first. Though the junior game is much better now than then and the elite amateur game has more of a structure, albeit a very shaky one reliant on reserve sides of pro clubs

I thought Elmbridge Eagles were Kingston RLFC (simply renamed - same clubhouse etc). Was/is there a link with Wokingham.

www.fatalerror.co.nz - A Musical by Lattimer & McRae

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I thought Elmbridge Eagles were Kingston RLFC (simply renamed - same clubhouse etc). Was/is there a link with Wokingham.

Yeah Ambleside became Wokingham then Surrey Heath then Kingston then Kingston Warriors then Elmbridge then Elmbridge Eagles. They're the oldest community club outside the heartlands I believe since the recent demise of Sunderland
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Yeah Ambleside became Wokingham then Surrey Heath then Kingston then Kingston Warriors then Elmbridge then Elmbridge Eagles. They're the oldest community club outside the heartlands I believe since the recent demise of Sunderland

 

Cool - thanks for that.  I played with several ex-Surrey Heath players in the 1990s with Reading Raiders RLFC then went on to play for Kingston for several seasons when Reading folded/failed to make criteria for the RLC.  

www.fatalerror.co.nz - A Musical by Lattimer & McRae

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From a few pages back - Yew Tree? Oh dear...

"We are easily breakable, by illness or falling, or a million other ways of leaving this earthly life. We are just so much mashed potato."  Don Estelle

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