History

 

1. History 1

EARLY YEARS OF MIDDLESBROUGH R.U.F.C.

The first recorded match was against Northumberland RFC on 16 Nov. 1872 at Newcastle with the home side winning by four goals and four tries to nil.

The earliest known Derby game was played against Darlington on 15th Feb. 1873 The ground was at Breckon Hill road on Grove Hill, the visitors won by a goal to nil.

What happened between 1873 – 1879 is a mystery, but in 1879 with the first Middlesbrough club apparently no longer in existence, a Middlesbrough Rovers team came to light.

2. History 2

By 1881 Teesside Wanderers was formed. Middlesbrough continued to support their 2 clubs until around 1892 when Rovers lost their ground. The answer was a merger and the new “Middlesbrough Rugby Club” was officially formed.

With the club unable to break into the better fixture circle of leading Durham clubs and finding it impossible to make long trips to the East & West Riding of Yorkshire, rugby became a forgotten sport in Middlesbrough for the next 25 years.

3. History 3

During the next few decades the game here had several homes – Breckon Hill Road, Albert Park, Paradise Chapel cricket ground (later to become Ayresome Park), Marton Road (now St Luke’s) and The Crescent (to become Kirby College).

In 1920 the legendary Arthur Knott, solicitor, coroner and subsequently secretary of the Club and Ivor Jones, the Club Captain, were summoned to a meeting with Tom Dormand Stewart, an ex-Percy Park player living on Green Lane. To their amazement he offered them his paddock behind Green Lane (which became Eastgate and Harrow Road) as a pitch, complete with posts and a groundsman, at no cost to the Club! Most players changed at home whilst visitors had to put up with changing at the Star and Garter Hotel, three mile away in the centre of town – a crafty wheeze to weaken their concentration?!

In 1928 it was agreed to buy a 12 acre field in Green Lane for £1,200. The Club’s cash in hand? Just 13 shillings – or 65p!! However members donated £500 and a loan of £800 was obtained from the RFU – members even turned to selling the hay and oats from the field to bring in some much needed money.

Middlesbrough played their first games on their present ground in 1929 having played at 7 previous venues.

The name Acklam Park was adopted in 1930, and the following year a stand and pavilion were built, funded as a result of 12 interest-free loans of £100 each from local businessmen, the majority of whom refused to take repayment of their loan. In 1932 we invited Middlesbrough Cricket Club to share the facilities with us and they became joint owners of Acklam Park.

Play was halted again around the Second World War. The club was resurrected on 7th September, 1945 In 1947, the first team shattered the 1931-3 record of 19 wins and 409 points by notching 22 victories from 29 games and totalling 516 points with only 128 against.

Other Facts:

  • 1955 – 1956 The year numbered shirts were introduced
  • 1956 summer County Cricket was played at Acklam Park for the first time
  • 1960 First post-war tour with matches against Chester (drawn) and a Birkenhead Park and District XV (won 55 – 3)
  • 1961 New Clubhouse
  • 1962 – 1963 A 12 week lay-off because of snow
  • 1963 – 1964 Phil Horrocks-Taylor joined the club, a Cambridge blue and England International who became the first player to go down in international program as being from Middlesbrough

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