Tue 07 May 2019 22:20

For a non-rugby area Oswestry has a long tradition for the game although its history is not a continuous one.

The first rugby, at Oswestry was in 1900 when a team was raised to test the Ellesmere College side. Press archives also record an Oswestry side taking on Shrewsbury in front of 400 spectators at Oswestry School, there are no other references other than an organised rugby match taking place in 1914 prior to the First World War

Paradoxically it was probably the establishing of an Army Camp in 1914 at Park Hall, Oswestry that strengthened the following for the game. Barbarian, LC Blencowe, 10th Battalion Kings Regiment, was probably the first Harlequin to grace the field at Park Hall. Within two months of playing, he was killed in action at Bois Grenier. Linkage with Harlequins is maintained today through a past Club Chairman Mike Evans.

In 1925 it was recorded that Eleven Years had passed since an organised rugby match had been played in Oswestry. Five games were recorded for the 1924/25 season. On 25th May 1925, an inaugural meeting took place to reform the Club and subscriptions were set at 10 shillings and sixpence for all members. The flourish of support for the game in the post war years declined and the Club had faded away by 1928. A brief resurgence took place in 1932 with the Club being re-formed but the revival was short lived and, once again, had disbanded by 1936. During this period of the Club history their home ground was at North Drive, Park Hall, not so far from the present ground. During that time Colonel Cunningham, an ex-Irish International was the Club Coach. On 14th March 1951 the Rugby Club was again re-formed under the Captaincy of D.S. Sutcliffe. During this period of time a local farmer named Pip Jenkins came to prominence in the Oswestry side, and later went on to be Club President.

In 1958 Rugby once more came to a halt, but rugby can not be kept out of Oswestry. The present era of the Club started a public meeting at the Wynnstay Hotel on 8th April 1976. Mike Lipscoombe being the driving force, Derek Sutcliffe was made Chairman and Tony Naylor Club Captain. During 1976/77 the Club developed quickly playing their matches at Gate Acre and using the Wynnstay Hotel as the Clubhouse. At that time they were playing 1st and 2nd Team games, with full fixtures lists. The following season a third team was also fielded.

In November 1979, the Club with help from the Sports Council, and much hard work from the members, were moved to the Park Hall ground with a Clubhouse.

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