BRFC Potted History

Beckenham Rugby Football Club was formed by a group of twenty-five eager rugger enthusiasts in 1894 and their original playing colours were red & white vertically striped shirts with blue shorts and socks. The club progressed slowly, eventually more matches were won than lost each season. By 1907 the club regularly fielded three sides and in 1908 the club was making definite progress with top clubs such as Rosslyn Park and London Irish 1st XVs appearing on the fixture list.

Between 1902-1910 the club possessed some splendid quality players, the backbone of the pack were the three Stagg brothers (John, Roland & Harold) and W. T. Cave who played for England (the club's only senior international). After this period of success the club entered a decline which continued until it was revived, in 1924, by the energies of more keen Beckenham rugby enthusiasts. New club colours were chosen, blue and old-gold hoops, which remain to this day.

In 1927 the present grounds were purchased for £350 and members erected a temporary wooden clubhouse on the site during Sunday morning working parties. The club was making definite progress in its playing ability by players regularly representing their county. In 1929 the grandstand was built and the following year (1930) a permanent clubhouse was erected for a cost of £1,500. By then the club was regularly fielding five sides and from 1933 until the outbreak of World War II it was up to six. In 1937 the clubhouse was extended to provide extra changing accommodation and the following season opened a third playing pitch.

Until 1939-40 the club maintained it's form but, due to the war and the inevitable fall in membership it could not sustain its activities which were suspended until peace was declared.

In 1945 G. C. Sumner (our current President's father) restarted the club and fixtures were arranged for one XV. Over the next few years, with the influx of new members the club started to field four sides each week on a regular basis. Three famous players were James Robertson-Justice, co-star in the famous 'Doctor' films with Leslie Phillips, Maurice Denham, a character actor who played alongside Harrison Ford in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' and Johnny Craddock who, with wife Fanny formed TV's first celebrity chef pairing.

By 1952 the club had re-established itself as a force to be reckoned with and, in 1957, tours to France and Holland were organised in a chartered Brixham trawler and a target-towing launch!

1968 saw the formation of one of the first veteran sides in Kent. This enabled players over the age of 35 to continue enjoying and playing rugby and this is still the tradition today with players over the age of 45 playing on a regular basis. In 1970 an extension was added to the clubhouse, and in 1974 Gordon Jones, our club secretary, took on new responsibilities as groundsman and lived in a caravan on site. It was not until 1984 that the current groundsman's bungalow was built. In the great storm of 1986 the clubhouse was almost destroyed by a falling 40-foot poplar tree which narrowly missed.

In 1988 the club undertook its first transatlantic tour when 65 members, including women and children, went to Canada and the next few years saw tours to France, Holland, Germany and all over the United Kingdom.

In 1994 motorised floodlights were installed and in March of the same year Beckenham RFC hosted the Kent Mini Rugby Festival involving over 1,600 young players. Under the direction of our youth chairman, Desmond Walsh, the junior section of the club grows from strength to strength. Every Sunday morning sees 280 to 320 mini/juniors either training or playing. A recent review of club records showed that this season the club has 10 players in our 1st XV squad who started their rugby career as a junior U7's players. These records also show that at least 30 current coaches and junior players have played for the club on a regular basis.

Our 1993/4 season saw the most successful team in the club's history – unbeaten in 22 games, scoring 800 points and conceding just 71! This was our "B2" XV captained by Chris Stevens and Kevin Smith. Beckenham have twice appeared at Twickenham in the final rounds of the Middlesex Sevens and 1995 saw our U16 squad playing at Twickenham before the England v France International.

In 1993, W. G. Sumner was elected as club president and 1994 saw Don Peed re-elected as the club treasurer for the 33rd time!

Over the years many Beckenham players have played representative rugby at all levels. Recently we have had junior players playing at international level, Sam Stone making England U18 team in 1999, Adam Janowski in the current 2004 England U16 squad and three ladies U18 players, Amy Smith, Amy Hooton and Harriet Bold, playing for South East England. The club also have two current senior players, Sam Ledgard and Graham Phinnerary, selected to the England Senior Deaf Squad. Three years ago saw the formation of the club's first ladies XV at senior level, under the ever watchful eye of their current coach AD, a side that is also growing from strength to strength. The club now fields seven sides on a regular basis and has a thriving youth rugby section.

In the spring of 2003 the old clubhouse finally moved over to make way for the new £900,000 facility which we see today. Half the building costs were raised by club members, and thanks to the un-tiring hard work of Richard Godden and Paul Skelly, together with our Treasurer, David Hepworth, the balance was raised from a successful lottery bid.