about our history

introduction to derby rugby club

Derby RFC officially formed in 1891/2 and previous players have included Dr. Karl Mullen (British Lions Captain & Ireland Captain) and Monty Heald (President of the Canadian RFU). Monty was elected to the Board of Rugby Canada in 1986 as Vice President of the National Team after serving as a selector, chairman of selectors and team manager starting in 1978. He was elected President in 1991, retired from the position in 1999 and served one further year on the Board as a Vice President.

In 1891/2 Derby played 7 games winning 6 losing 1. One of the victories was against Nottingham and the press report told of a somewhat vigorous encounter. It’s likely that Derby had been playing for a number of seasons before 1891 but this year of 1891 is the earliest we know of any written evidence.

Post World War II, Rugby Football re-commenced at Derby in February 1946 under the banner of Derby Tigers RFC.

In the season 1949/50 at a meeting at the Derbyshire Club, Irongate here in Derby between five members of Derby Tigers and five members of the pre-war Derby RFC. The name was changed to Derby RFC “for the betterment of Rugby Football, both in Derby and Derbyshire.” The club at this time were playing on Markeaton Park. Both teams colours are reflected in the present club tie.

In late 1950 the club decided on a move to Kedleston Road and leased the present field from Mr Clarke-Maxwell, an eminent Derby surgeon, for a modest sum per annum. The club purchased a sectional building from R.A.F. Wymeswold in Leicestershire at a cost of £75. The building was transported in sections, on lorries, to Kedleston Road. The club members, then numbering around 135, started digging the trenches for the foundations. Many of the bricks were second hand and the cement had to be chipped off them. In 1952 the club moved to the new ground and on September 11th Mr W.C. Ramsey, Treasurer and Vice-President of the Rugby Football Union performed the opening ceremony. In the early 60′s Blackwell Colliery R.F.C. disbanded and donated their funds to Derbyshire Rugby Clubs. This funded an annex to the club area called the Blackwell Room, long since dismantled.

In 1976 it was decided to build the current dressing rooms at a cost of some £25,000. To finance this £15,000 came from club funds and £10,000 from a bond scheme. Bonds of £25 were issued to be repayed over 10 years. Some members were re-imbursed but the majority donated them to the club. The construction of the changing rooms was well under way when the purchase of the ground was offered to us for £10 000. All the monies having been allocated the pot was empty but this was an offer we could not turn down. The late, and sadly missed, Peter Joslin, almost single handedly, raised the money from the Sports Council. What an investment that proved to be !!!
In 1980, under the direction of Eddie Hilyer, the lounge was added to the complex at a cost of £20 000.

In June 2002 Derby RFC moved from Kedleston Road to the new Clubhouse and grounds at Haslams Lane. A new chapter in the history of Derby RFC has begun.

Players – Past and Present
Prominent players in the 1980’s have been Stuart Hamilton who went on to play for then mighty Coventry and Roger Lucas at Nottingham. Recently, ex-mini scrum-half Alan Dickens has played in over 100 Premiership games for a variety of clubs. Sean Jennings played 533 1st XV games and scored a phenomenal 3,882 points in his time (it’s highly unlikely that this record will ever be broken, it’s an absolute massive amount of points). Campbell Wigley is third in the all-time points scoring table with well over 700 first team points. Colin Cornfield is now second in the appearance table with 434 appearances for the Club and he has scored 673 points with most of them scored from the wing. More recently we have seen a number of players move onto higher levels of play, Dan Sanderson now playing at Worcester, Adam Parkins at Northampton and Tom Warren at Moseley.

We run 6 senior sides – 1st XV, 2nd XV, 3rd XV, Vets XV, Colts XV and a Ladies XV. We also have a very successful Minis & Juniors section with teams in every age group starting from Under 7s right through to Under 16s. Our Colts consist of both junior at Under 17s and senior Colts at Under 19s. Ladies rugby started off in 2007/08, and has slowly built up to be a strong set of players competing well and attracting new players. In 2014/15 the side icompeted in the National Ladies Cup competition.

In recent years the 2002/03 season saw Derby runners up in Midlands Two West, both the 1st XV and the 2nd XV lifted the Derbyshire Cup in their respective Competitions and the 1st XV were runners up in the NLD Three Counties Cup. In 2004/05 season the 1st XV were promoted to Midlands One East and in the same season Andrew Congleton achieved the highest points scored in a single season, in English Rugby Union! More recently the 1st XV have again achieved promotion as champions into Midlands East One in 2011/12 season.

Colts rugby has seen a real change and success in the last decade, the introduction of the Junior Colts (Under 17s) into the Colts set up in 2008 was brought about by Head Coach Roxy Fearon. This change was to create an environment of competitive and progress rugby for young players to develop them into senior players. This change proved very successful with the Colts joining the Leicestershire league and cup competitions, with the Senior Colts winning the Leicestershire Colts Cup in 2010. This success led to many of these young players ascending into 1st Team rugby for the club and we still have many today playing their rugby in their home club. In season 2010/11 the 1st XV fielded the youngest side ever, with an average of 22 years and 4 months.

Our Minis & Juniors had many successes since 2002/03, not least when our U9s, 10s & 12s all travelled to Twickenham having reached the Finals Day of the Gullivers National Tournament in that year. In the last decade we have continued to win both County and Three Counties Championship across all age groups from year to year. There have been some notable personal successes too in the playing ranks with high levels of achievement, Jonathan Joseph (England) currently playing at Bath; Sam Tresidder England U16; Harry Rudkin England U16, U18 & Under 20s; James Thraves England U16s; James Fish England U16s, Rhys Williams Welsh Exiles.

New players, serious or social, are always most welcome.

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