Tue 02 May 2017 09:39

Horsham Clubhouse Build Project

Since our two clubs Plymstock RFC and OPO's RFC merged in 2007 we have had Horsham as our Home.  The existing changing rooms did not contain any kitchen or bar area.  Initially we converted 2 changing rooms at the from of the building to be a social area serving bacon rolls and tea on a Sunday morning.  This proved very busy and we soon converted 2 more changing rooms to be a kitchen area and the initial space to a dedicated bar.  This was our first PAO bar on Horsham.  The next stage was to have porta-cabins erected to the rear of the building to give a 'Clubhouse', we used this for a couple of years holding regular social events and quiz's.  In 2013 the club started the 'Back the Bid' campaign to acquire funding to build the existing clubhouse.  WE secured funding from Sport England and the RFU and along with considerable commitment from club members we started on the build.  9 months and nearly £300K later we have our first true home a place we can all be proud of.

Plymstock Albion Oaks R.F.C

The club formed back in 2007, where OPO's and Plymstock Albion RFC emerged, and formed the team "Plymstock Albion oaks". Horsham fields continued to be the home of the club, with the edition of OPO's who moved up from King George V fields where they where sharing the facilities with OPM RFC. They added a new senior section to Plymstock, and the team could field two senior teams and teams from under 7's running up to under 16's. The team formed the first ever colts team in the history of Plymstock Albion Oaks in their second season (2008/2009). In their first season, the first team won promotion from Devon 1, to the Devon and Cornwall league.

In 2008, the club started a new project and goal, and that was to completely revamp Horsham fields and it's facilities. The first step became a reality in early 2009, a grant was given to the club of £24,841.00 thanks to Matt Collier who raised the money and the YOF (Youth opportunity and capital fund) who provided the grant to the club. The changing room communal area was completely refurbished. A meeting room, lounge area, a kitchen, new showers/toilets, new outside seating area was added, and a general make over of the whole building took place. In addition two new storage crates where added containing new equipment and new mobile flood lights. A new womens team was also formed in 2009.

Plymstock Albion R.F.C

The early years.....

1988 saw two local lads, Roy Eyers and Nigel Passmore form a senior team then known as Plymstock RFC at the King George V playing fields. On occasions, Plymstock were able to field two seniors sides to play local teams but the success of Plymstock was not measured by their trophy cabinet but the enthusiasm and fervour for the game.

It was around the 1995 Rugby World Cup that Bill Meechan (the then club captain), Nigel Higginson and other committee members realised that their energies should be directed more towards youth rugby. Ultimately, youth rugby could not kick off without money and a sponsored walk was undertaken from Plymstock to Bath. Walkers visited schools and carried out road shows. With tired feet the sponsored walkers raised enough cash to start youth rugby with Plymstock RFC.

Over the years the club moved from King George V to the Staddiscombe fields. The exposed nature of Staddiscombe fields meant that games were generally played in gale force winds. Eventually Plymstock settled at their present location of Horsham fields. The fields had been previously been used for hockey and made the conversion to rugby with ease.

2004

The 2003/2004 season saw our local team Plymouth Albion develop a youth programme. Plymstock RFC successfully applied for affiliation. The club had 160 children registered in the 7 to 15 year age range at that time.

What's in a name?

Plymstock, its origins lay in the Anglo-Saxon times. The Oxford dictionary of English place names gives the meaning (of Plymstock) as 'The holy place where the plum trees grow' but an alternative meaning of the name is 'the holy place (stoc) by the Plym'. Which do you prefer?

Albion, is of Celtic origin and was used as the old name for Britain or England.

Horsham Fields

The fields that we currently use was originally farm land, which may have belonged either to Sterts Farm or to the Candishes Farm.

Prior to Plymstock Albion playing rugby on its turf, Horsham had hosted hockey.

Old Public Oaks R.F.C

In 1927,soon after the Public Central School in Cobourg Street, Plymouth, first opened its gates to an 11+ intake, the "Old Public Oaks" association was formed. Four years later it was decided that the association should form an Old Boys' rugby team.Inspired by school master, Percy Lobb; and with the help of Eddie Rickard and Cyril Littlejohns (Captain) an OPO XV played its first game at Plympton, behind the George Hotel. This was against Plymouth Argaum. One of our Life Members - Jack Rundell - played in the backs on that very day in March 1931. He recalls changing in the stables behind the pub!

 In the 1931 - 2 Season, it was necessary to borrow senior boys from the School Fifth Form to make up the numbers: but, a year later there were sufficient players to form a genuinely Old Boys' outfit Players such as George Canterbury, Leonard Truscott, J.S. Harries and Bill Fisher were regulars: and the half back combination of Leonard Kirkpatrick and Ronald Emond, both England Schoolboy Final Trials, with Kirkpatrick representing his country in 1931. Sadly, Emond was killed aboard H.M.S Gloucester during the War.

Bill Jones, one of our other Life Members, started playing as a skillful wing (or centre) in 1933. Andy Robertson - a few years younger played as a schoolboy before the War - and later as an Old Boy whenever his naval commitments permitted (see paper report opposite).

It would be Bill and Andy, too, who would contribute greatly to the successful running of the Club's affairs during the the years following the War, and for many seasons afterwards. These two former players and their colleague Jack Rundell, have worked tirelessly for the Club.

We owe them a huge debt of gratitude

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