November 8: Worcester Rugby Club Founded
With white rugby jerseys with the city coat of arms and blue rugby shorts Worcester Rugby Football Club played their first match against Worcester Artillery at Somerset Place on this day in rugby history in 1871.
The club was the brainchild of Rev Francis John Eld, a headmaster of the Worcester Royal Grammar School. He recruited a small number of players and asked each to find a friend to play who lived within three minutes of the city.
Worcester continued to play until 1896 when it was disbanded but was revived in 1908. The side quickly established they were here to stay and instituted annual meetings by 1910 which continue today. The side has played since that that time with the exception of during World War I and World War II.
After World War II, Worcester began to build for the long term with the main focus on recruiting players and finding a suitable home rugby pitch. The club settled on Bilford Road pitch but they were always eyeing better accommodations and eventually made their home at Bevere.
Worcester saw tremendous growth in the late 1960’s and it was time to move again which saw them move to Sixways in 1975.
By the end of the 1970’s the North Midlands rugby club was touring France at the end of the decade and heading to the U.S. and Canada in 1980.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was pleased with the tour announcement and sent the club a letter telling them as much.
She wrote: “I send my warmest good wishes to the Worcester Rugby Club on the occasion of its first tour of Canada and the United States. It is a very special occasion when a rugby club, founded more than a century ago, embarks on a major international tour in North America for the first time. I welcome the initiative which the Worcester Rugby Club has shown in arranging this tour, and I recognise that one of the best ways of promoting international understanding and goodwill is by sporting contacts of this kind. I wish the team every possible success”.
With the game entering professionalism in 1996, Worcester decided they were in a position to fight for the top. After narrowly missing out on several occasions, the Warriors were promoted to the Premiership after the 2003/04 campaign.
Record of Achievement 1977 – 2005
North Midlands Cup and North Midlands 1977-78 Sevens Winner
North Midlands Division One Champions 1989-90
North Midlands Cup Finalists 1990-91
Midlands Division Two Champions 1992-93
North Midlands Cup Finalists 1993-94
Midlands Division One Champions 1994-95
Whitbread Flowers & Rugby World Junior Club of the Year 1994-95
North Midlands Cup Winners 1995-96
National Division five North Champions 1995-96
National Division four North Champions 1996-97
North Midlands Cup Finalists 1996-97
Jewsons National League One Champions 1997-98
North Midlands Cup Winners 1997-98
Powerline Floodlit Cup Winners 1997-98
Allied Dunbar Premiership Division Two 1999-2000
National Division One Champions 2003-2004
European Shield Finalists 2004-2005
Middlesex Sevens Finalists 2007-2008
European Challenge Cup Finalists 2007-2008