Beverley Rugby club has a pedigree and history going back well over 100 years in fact all the way back to 1886, 134 years ago! Records are pretty-scarce from back then, but our wall of fame at Beaver Park has pictures that go that far back on for you to look at if you are interested, it is fascinating. We know that during the formative years of rugby across Britain, there were lots of variations on the game that were played, indeed at one point in the early days, when we played rugby league, but we will keep that quiet.
Our current committee, membership, players, and supporters all owe a massive debt of gratitude to the previous generations of committee, membership, players and supporters and volunteers for making our great club the great club that is. For as long as there are committed individuals such as these, we will always be in the heart of Beverley community.
If you were to study the team photos framed and mounted on the long bar wall in the clubhouse at Beaver Park, you would see our pedigree firsthand, and a history that not many clubs can boast. This is something we are all very proud of at the club and will always be. Some seasons are missing of course, there were breaks for administrative reasons and then more notable reasons such as world wars but it is testimony to the determination and organisation of the volunteers to keep the club operating and providing such a fantastic service to the community, for all to join in with if they so choose. Our records tell the story best from 1927 onwards, for which we need to recognise Mr. Max Dunning one of our former presidents for the early contribution.
The old Beverley Club was re-kindled in 1927 at a meeting held in the Mayor’s Parlour and attended by seven enthusiasts under the chairmanship of the then Mayor, Robert Harding Wood. At this meeting it was unanimously decided to re-form the Club and Mr. John Dunkerly, the well-known sportsman, was elected President. Mr. W. W. Powell, who later became the District Valuer of Carlisle, was appointed hon. secretary and Mr. F. J. Affleck was the treasurer. The first ground of the re-formed Club was in Tate’s field at the end of Norwood Grove. This ground was rough and far from level but served its purpose, until the Club moved to Wyllie’s Park, an excellent ground and amongst the best in the East Riding, being central, and close to the Club’s headquarters, which in those days was in the Beverley Arms. Unfortunately, the Club had to vacate this ground when the land was sold for building purposes, and pastures new were found in a field opposite Longcroft Park, on which games were played until the outbreak of the war.
When the Club was re-formed in 1927, it was hoped that the playing strength would be implemented by a number of the East Riding police members, but the then Chief Constable (a probable soccer fan) decreed that in the event of injury they would be suspended without pay. However, great help was forthcoming from Victoria Barracks and a number of very good Army players turned out from time to time – Sergeants Butler and Samuel and Drummer Tester being three of them, whilst one of the best half-back combinations was when the Adjutant had his BATMAN as scrum-half! No passes were ever delayed!
Officials of the old Beverley Club were as follows:
Presidents: 1927-28, J. A. Dunkerly; 1928-31, D. R. F. Dunning; 1931-38, E. C. Bainton; 1938-39, F. J. Affleck.
Hon. Secretaries: 1927-32, W. W. Powell; 1932-36, D. M. Dunning; 1936, B. Hutchinson; 1936-38, C. Huddleston; 1938-39, D. M. Dunning.
Hon. Treasurers: 1927-31, F. J. Affleck; 1931-34, E. Lear; 1934-38, G. Sissons; 1938-39, D. Hutchinson.
Captains: 1927-33, D. M. Dunning; 1933-36, A. J. Stothard; 1936-39, W. W. Brewer.
Other central figures who put in a lot of hard work for the old Club included Tommy Rennard, who became Chairman of the Selection Committee; Tom Chambers, whose son played in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and whose two grandsons, Robert and Stuart, are also former members of the Club.
The present-day Club was founded in 1959 and was formerly known as Longcroft Old Boys, and the name was changed to Beverley R.U.F.C. in 1965. Dave Robinson was the inspiration behind the formation of the Club and became the first General Secretary, doing a lot of spade work in the early days and was also instrumental in sparking off the idea of the Club acquiring their own ground and Clubhouse- an ambition which it is hoped will soon be fulfilled.
When Dave handed over the secretarial duties to another still active Founder Member, Jim Thirsk, his services were acknowledged by the Club in the form of a Life Membership. A similar acknowledgement was bestowed on David Shaw, another Founder Member who was Fixture Secretary for eight seasons before handing over to Keith Lenton, yet another faithful Founder Member, who along with Jim Thirsk, is still going strong and doing a grand job. Brian Meadley, another of the old originals, is now living in the United States and recent news of him reveals that he is still playing the game and making a name for himself with the Atlanta Ruggers XI at Fort Jackson.
Dave Robinson, Dave shaw and Keith Lenton (who is a regular on match days at Beaver Park to support the current team) are highlighted in the 1959 team picture below.
The Beverley Club is full of praise for the help given by Mr. R. Dunn, the former Headmaster of the Longcroft School, and Mr. J. W. Swann the present Headmaster in making the playing facilities available at Longcroft and the players are fully appreciative of the interest shown and encouragement given by past Games Masters, David Squires and Clive Norton, who both must be pleased with the playing progress which has been made. For the first two seasons, the going was tough but the senior side stuck together and in the season 1966-67 they had the best playing record in Yorkshire Rugby Union Circles, playing thirty-six games, winning thirty-two, drawing two and only losing on two occasions, with a points scoring tally of 754 for, 193 against. The side also had the highest score recorded in the Yorkshire Rugby Union Cup, scoring 96 points in a first-round game in season 1965-67 against Hull College of Technology. In this game two Club records were setup with Mick Kendle kicking 18 goals out of 20 conversions, and Brian Hancock scoring 9 tries.
Before the current clubhouse facilities were available David Shaw (one of the three original Club Officials) provided a cup of tea for the teams up at Longcroft School. (Longcroft Old Boys). The Ladies Section provided after-match refreshments for Beverley RUFC on a rota basis. Pie and mushy peas were prepared ‘at home’; one of the ladies were collected by car and transported to a local pub; the teams were fed; the dirty plates and cutlery were collected; and the lady was returned home; she washed the plates and cutlery which were then passed on to the next on the rota – no such luck these days!
The money raised to buy the plates and cutlery used had been provided by the ladies using proceeds from events that they organised such as jumble sales, coffee evenings, fashion shows, etc. The Ladies Section also mended the team shirts, the current committee are considering resurrecting such a service from the ladies at the club, please let us know of your interest and what skills you can bring to support your men having a better rugby experience……….just kidding ladies 😉.
More details of the club’s early history between the late 1800’s and early 1900’s can be accessed at the Beverley Treasure House Archives under reference DDX889. In the meantime, one of our longest serving members, Mr Mike Archibald Esq, is pulling together further details on the history of the club, which, if he ever gets finished will be added to these pages, hurry up Mike!