A BRIEF HISTORY OF DORKING RUGBY FOOTBALL CLUB 1921-2018
Dorking Rugby Football Club is founded with just one men’s team and the first matches were played in Dorking on Meadowbank.
DRFC moves to a single rugby pitch at Pixham Lane. The Pavilion is shared with Dorking Cricket Club and the ground is shared with Old Dorkinians Football Club. The teams use the Star & Garter pub to get changed!
As DRFC grows in popularity, a Second team (A XV) is founded.
Sadly DRFC ceases to play, not to resume again until 1946, when just one team can start up again. It’s not until 1947 that the A XV is reformed.
A third team (ExA XV) is founded and a 2nd pitch is borrowed on a cowfield at Sondes Place Farm. Alan Clatworthy joins the club, leading to the role of Hon. Secretary from 1949 to1958 and a marathon 45 year Presidency from 1963 to 2008.
The first fixture of Dorking v Muffinmen, leading to the creation of the invitational side playing annually against Dorking right up until 1992.
Dorking Schoolboys XV is founded. One team of mixed ages from 13 to 18 play in Christmas holidays. It grows in popularity until being split into three age groups U14, U16 and U18 in 1965.
Rugby is proving popular! A Fourth team (B XV) is founded.
The 60s were all about revolution! Captain Kirk and Lt. Uhura had the world’s first interacial kiss... Apollo 8 is the first manned spacecraft to orbit the moon... and DRFC appointed its first club coach!
With a new 50 year lease for the Pavilion and three rugby pitches, DRFC moves to Brockham Big Field. A new Pavilion is built and shared with Old Epsomians RFC and MVDC.
In a big year for the kids of Dorking as the Minis is founded for boys and girls aged 6 to 12 by Ted Ivens who is subsequently elected as the first Youth Chairman.
A very important area of the Pavilion, the bar area is extended from single to two storeys, leaving the changing rooms as single storey.
The Club’s first Chairman Ted Ivens, is elected.
DRFC is appointed as host Club of the first Surrey Rugby Mini Festival, setting the scene for years to come!
The first Dorking Women’s team is founded. Additionally, the 1st XV plays in first London Leagues as the RFU introduces Leagues for all Clubs.
Old Epsomians RFC leave the Big Field and DRFC takes over their assets and liabilities.
DRFC is awarded the RFU Mini and Youth Seal of Approval.
DRFC wins the Powergen National Vase at Twickenham, followed another success with DRFC winning the U17 National Championship at Worcester in 2007.
1st XV is promoted to RFU National Leagues for the first time in the Club’s history, and DRFC’s legal status changes from Members’ Club to Incorporated Company limited by guarantee.
DRFC becomes the first Rugby Club in England to be registered as a full Registered Charity. Another registered charity - the National Trust - grants DRFC a new 50 year Lease the following year.
In a huge year for the club, DRFC is awarded coveted RFU Accredited Club status, wins the U17 National Championship at Worcester, and takes over responsibility for entire pavilion, which is demolished internally, leaving only outside walls and roof standing. The £1m refurbishment is completed during summer months and the Pavilion is re-opened by Bill Beaumont, RFU Chairman, on 31st October.
DRFC 1st XV wins the London and SE Division 1 League. Promotion to National League 2 South.
The club feels great pride in ex-youth member George Kruis making his England debut against New Zealand at Twickenham – the same year that another former youth player, Kay Wilson represented England in the Women’s Rugby World Cup (debut 2011).
The club had a major restructure resulting with the appointment of the former 1st XV Captain Armand Roux as first DoR of DRFC. Another swell of pride as another ex-youth player, Elliot Daly makes his debut against Ireland during the Six Nations championship. DRFC 1st XV enters the National 3 South, and the club hosts it’s biggest mini festival ever, with c.2,500 children playing throughout the day.
DRFC launches The John Douglas Youth Development fund, with the primary aim of financially funding projects and initiatives in the support of obtaining the highest possible standard and engagement of rugby through DRFC, with a particular emphasis on Youth Development. Its relevance is reinforced by two ex-Dorking youth players being selected for the 2017 Lions tour.