Dursley Rugby Football Club
|1965: Russell Holloway leaps high to secure possession in Dursley's match with Old Centralians on Saturday. Below Dursley's front row ensure a quick service for scrum half David Murphy|
A History of Rugby in Dursley
The earliest records of rugby football in the Dursley area show that in 1888 Dursley RFC formed and initially played on Stinchcombe Hill. Then in 1899 they moved to the ‘Cricket Ground’ which is better known as Dursley Recreation Ground. A match played there against Sharpness in the April attracted a crowd of 200. There is also a record of the team travelling to Lydney for a match which must have been a long trip in those days.
In 1889 Cam Rugby Club formed and played in Lower Cam on field lent by Rev Hunter. This did not survive long and became defunct in 1890.
Dursley amalgamated with Cotswold Rovers in 1892 with players being drawn from the surrounding area. By 1894 Dursley RFC was struggling to survive and there are no records for this period. Berkeley & Sharpness Rugby Club was well established by 1898-99.
Then in 1903 Dursley RFC was re-established. In the 1904-05 season the Club won the Mid Gloucestershire Cup. There is a medal from this event which was presented to A. H. GorinIn who went on to play for Gloucester and the County.
In the 1920's the Club became 1920s Dursley Star RFC after the Star Inn which was HQ to the Club. With Listers the major employer in the area and the works teams thriving the Lister Rugby Club was established in the 1930s. The two Clubs ran in parallel for a number of years until Dursley RFC became defunct. The Lister Rugby Club continued until the late 1940s.
In June 1953 a meeting was held at the Kings Head Inn and present Dursley RFC was established. The driving force was Ron Martin who was Headmaster at Berkeley Junior School. Stroud RFC were very supportive in the establishment of the Club.
The first game was played on 17 September 1953 against Cainscross 2nd XV. Home games were played at Stinchcombe close to the present ground and the Village Hall was used for changing. The Kings Head in Dursley was the Club HQ. Within a short time the Club moved to play home games on the Dursley Recreation Ground. The club grew and a second team, the United, was soon established. In 1968 a third team, the Nomads, was formed. The need for more pitches and clubhouse facilities precipitated the move to the Stragglers ground. The Club joined with Stinchcombe Stragglers Cricket Club to form the SS&D Sports Club whilst retaining the pitch at the ‘Rec’.
In 1972 a further pitch with a training light was established at the Stragglers. Developments of the Clubhouse and changing facilities took place over several years to meet the increasing needs of the Club.
M & Y rugby struggled until in 1992 the Mini & Youth Section was formally established It thrived and grew under the leadership of the current Club Chairman Simon Bilous.
By the millennium the Dursley M & Y section became and still is, one of the largest in the County and the South West with over 450 members. It provides quality coaching and is exemplary in what is offers to young people. Over the years hundreds of young people have benefitted from the playing and social development associated with the Club.
In the late 1990s the Dursley Ladies Rugby Club was established. This added greatly to the infrastructure of the Club. The Ladies are now an integral part of the Club following the changes nationally in 2012 bringing men’s and women’s rugby under a single organisation in the Rugby Football Union.
In 2002 the Club became Incorporated under the Provident and Industrial Societies Act 1965 as Dursley RFC Ltd. This gave those involved in the running of the Club the necessary legal protection.
With the club still expanding the need for pitches was increasing. In 2007 further land was purchased to provide for another full size pitch, a training paddock, mini pitches and car park. The club facilities in general continue to be developed. After some extensive fund raising in 2015/16 the new changing rooms were formally opened in April 2017.