A Brief History of the Thurrock Rugby Club

The club was formed in 1928 as Grays Rugby Football Club, by L T (Jack) Edwards. The first game was against Gravesend and was a win for the home team, 11 points to 6. By 1931, the club could field two teams. The home games were played at Orsett, using changing facilities in a barn behind the Whitmore Arms until the outbreak of war in 1939.

On being reformed after the war the club used pitches in Orsett and the Manor Field in Grays. A new era commenced when the name was changed to Thurrock Rugby Football Club to reflect the wider area from which players were drawn, and a new home found at Stanford Recreation Ground with ‘HQ’ at the United Services Club.

With the continued expansion of the club, it was necessary to obtain additional pitches. These were provided by Thurrock Urban District Council at Blackshots, and the club base moved to the R.A.F.A. Club in Southend Road, Grays.

After a number of happy years there, plans were laid for a clubhouse of our own. Financed from a bond scheme amongst members, and with help from the R.F.U., together with a considerable effort from Chairman S David and Secretary J Egan, the former clubhouse in Long Lane was opened in January 1966.

Thirteen years were spent at this clubhouse, where the number of teams increased to six senior sides and a Colts XV. The stage was set for the ‘Successful Seventies’. Thurrock first won the Essex cup in 1972 and went on to win it a record 7 times. In 1975 the club became the first Eastern Counties team to play in the first round of the John Player Cup losing in a close game to Havant. The club went on to win the Eastern Counties Cup and the Essex Cup Double three years in a row from 1974 to 76 and in 1980 reached the finals rounds of the Middlesex 7s at Twickenham where they played London Scottish. Another high point in the club’s history was when they beat London Irish 16 - 10 at home in a Pilkington Cup game in 1991.

The natural progression was to bring together the playing and social facets of club activity under one roof. Bill Barnett negotiated to buy the present land and became Project Manager and Treasurer Mervyn Jones managed to raise £150,000 to finance the project. Work started in September 1978 and by January 1979 the clubhouse was occupied. The official opening was in October 1979 by R.F.U. President, A W Ramsay, when a host of international players entertained a crowd of 2000 plus.

More than 30 years on, the club boasts fine facilities - 2 squash courts, 8 changing rooms, a gym, an on site physio, a conference room, large kitchen and preparation room, shop, lounge and function room, while outside there are 3 pitches and a 150 seat grandstand. At present Thurrock run 4 senior sides and a Colts team, while the Youth/Mini Section run teams at all age groups from Under 7 yrs to Under 17 yrs, catering for well over 300 youngsters and more are always welcome.

The club run a Ladies XV (T-Birds) who have gone from strength to strength and are now destined for the Premiership, the top level in ladies rugby. They also field a second team, have introduced the T-Chicks, a team each for under 15 and under 18 girls.

The 60's

The 60s were probably the most important in the club’s history, because this was the decade that saw the desire for our own clubhouse being hatched and achieved.

In the early years of the decade the after-match meetings were in The Ship, Dock Road and matches were being played on Blackshots up until 1978.

Shennanigans by Howie Evans’s brother Idris led to leaving The Ship and taking up residence in The RAFA Club in Southend Road.

Howie Evans invited Brian Howells to have a game for the 3rd team in November 1963 and that was the start of his long affiliation to TRFC. This was also the season that saw the start of the Colts team.

During the meetings at the RAFA Club it was mooted that TRFC had been nomads for long enough and plans were drawn up to buy and build our own clubhouse. Involved in this planning were: Sam David. RJB “Jimmy” Jones, Dai Morgan and Sid Jones. This planning eventually led to the buying of land in Long Lane and the building of the “Old” clubhouse. TRFC moved into these new premises in 1966.

During the 60s the club’s first team was playing teams like………

Captains were:

Other notes:

The 4th XV started in January 1964 with Brian Howells as Captain. He was joined by players such as Alan Jones (ex Aberavon scrum half) and David North (Yorkshire Schools 2nd Row) The team managed to win all 9 games played before the above moved on to be 1st XV players at one time or another.