A potted history of Richmondshire Rugby Club
It all started way back in the mists of 1984, or so we think. Alf Raine moved over from Middlesbrough into Richmond Cricket Club, and drinking in the bar a game of rugby was arranged between some folks from the club lounge and some folks from Acklam Rugby Club, to be held in Richmond on the school pitch by the river…not a bad place to start, even when the weather did everything it could to stop it from ever beginning.
Undeterred, Alf and Adrian Lee spent several hours clearing snow off the lines. Again, the weather held its own surprises (who’d ever have thought the weather in Richmond would be a problem?), with not a snowflake to be seen after a steady thaw. The game kicked off. The game finished. Score draw, lots of hospitality, a fair smattering of drinking…something good was born.
Alf rang round the local clubs to continue the encouraging start, and soon the players started to flood in, many from the 8th Signals and others who’d played with Alf defected from the Teesside clubs to play for the new team.
The second game of the debut season was arranged with Sedgefield, again to be held on the river pitch. Richmond won, watched by a coach load of invalids that had been brought along for a day out. Much rugby antics were enjoyed post-match.
The third game was played away against Redcar 2nds (The Mariners), who were held to a credible 6-6 draw. The fourth was against Guisborough 1sts, although it had been booked to be against the 2nds, and Richmond took the scalp with a convincing 28-3 victory after a hard-fought game.
For the remainder of the season a happy bunch of players got together every Saturday to learn and develop in the game. At the end of the year the club formed a Committee and became what is now Richmondshire Rugby Club (just to differentiate us from some small, backwater club near Twickenham…)
Season 1: Rugby had truly arrived in Richmond and it was like a duck to water.
Over the next few years, the club grew and developed, in player base, stature and ability. A 2nd XV was established in the first full season and many good players emerged through the ranks: the Newton brothers, the Lerigo brothers, Bob Dixon and Stevie Bake arrived from Bishop Auckland, the Bisicker brothers, Dave Peacock, Paul (Tiny) Cope, George Pow, Adam Cox, Richie Smith, Nick Hunter, Archie Kirbie, Steven 'Goody Goodchild, the Fridge, and so many more. Games were played on various pitches until the current facilities at Theakston Lane became available, and after-game shenanigans moved between various clubs and pubs in Richmond, with the club becoming renowned for its hospitality. Various tours were undertaken – Dusseldorf, Scarborough, Upper Eden, Scotland – all with their events and memories.
Management in the early days came from Alf Raine and Norman Yarwood, although as Norman left with the Forces Jon Moulding arrived at Richmond School and injected a fresh wave of energy as well as some new and interesting post-match frivolities.
Skipping forward 20-odd years to the present…
Having left Durham & Northumberland III the club played in a North Yorkshire Social League in 2009-10 to some considerable success, being promoted to the local Merit league in season 2010-11. From 2012 Richmondshire I are once again in the Durham and Northumberland Leagues, with Richmondshire II taking the place of the Firsts in the Merit League. The club also now runs a ladies section - Richmondshire Ravens - and has a thriving youth setup under the guidance of Jon Moulding and Steve Speakman. The club prides itself on its family-friendly atmosphere and continues to extend the excellent hospitality upon which it was first built.