Harwich & Dovercourt Rugby Club was formed in 1936 by a group of local gentlemen; an article appeared in several local papers in September of 1936 inviting anybody interested to attended a meeting "at which the real business of the formation of the new club would be discussed".

At this meeting it was decided that Lt.-Col. H M A Ward D.S.O, O.B.E., M.A. would be the clubs first president. Dr K Phelan was elected Chairman & Mr F Low vice chairman. The Clubs first captain was Mr Lattimer, he would "act as non playing captain until the team had made a start".

The first club fixture was arranged as a home match against Orwell Works and took part on 10th October 1936. After a resounding victory in the first game played, the club went on to win 8 of the 18 matches played in its first season, 1 was a draw and 9 matches lost, with a total of 175 points for and 145 against.

We have the match reports from the 1937/38 season and the results were much as before, some good and some bad. We have a photograph and limited information from the 1938/39 season. The club was then disbanded due to players being called to the service of their country.

Dave Chilver adds his memories and drops poeple in it

On a personal note I first turned out for the club 1st XV on the wing in the 1962-63 season as a skinny 15 year old against Felixstowe where I was almost immediately thumped by their infamous prop " Podge "- in the old tradition Podge was dealt with at the next few scrums by our wing forward Dick Whelan aided by the referee who deliberately kept looking the other way.Undeterred I continued to play regularly for the club 1st.XV for another 22 years .I maintained contact by to getting in a few holiday games during the three years I was away in Cheltenham studying Physical Education at St. Paul's College and during this time playing for the college had the experience and privilege to play at some of the famous grounds in the south west and Wales in a side that contained Sam Doble and Tony Richards who went on to play for England.

My return to Harwich for the 1968/69 season saw us losing almost every single game, but as was the case in those days large numbers of potential players regularly moved in and out of Harwich working in customs , immigration, special branch and teaching and over the next few years a wealth of talent moved into the club.

It was rumoured that Ron Stanley vetted all Special Branch Officers sent to him at the port and only accepted rugby players, a policy that was borne out by the arrival of two excellent players in hard man Alan Gutteridge in the second row and strong running Bill Butler in the centre.Other additions included in my opinion our best club players ever -the multi talented P E teacher Dave Glanville at fly half, who went on to play in an Australian Regional side that defeated Fiji ,another PE teacher from the Harwich School Nick Jarratt who had represented England schools and Tony Burrows who previously played no 8 for Colchester 1sts.

The squad was further strengthened by the arrival of John Mc Aleavey at full back(later to become head at the Harwich School) who had previously played in the same side as me on tour for St.Paul's College and a wealth of emerging local talent that included a young but very solid Suffolk Colt Peter Dalby at hooker, the short but fearless tackler Mick Brooker on the wing and the welcome height of John Everett in the second row.

Such was our improvement that in the 1971-72 season when I shared the captaincy with Bill Butler (posted back to the Met) we made the national press with the longest unbeaten club run in the Country and finished the season scoring 911 points with only 185 against. I continued the captaincy in 1972-73 when we just fell short of the 1,000 points at 968 for with 237 against which bearing in mind a try scored only 3 points in those days remains a club record to this day.

In the very early days one of the high lights of the season was a coach trip to watch an International at Twickenham .The day started with a morning game against a Met Police side at Imber Court arranged by Ron Stanley and was followed by a trawl around Soho and London in the evening. My most memorable event on one of these trips apart from seeing my first stripper as a teenager was of Bogey Knights convinced by alcohol that he could walk on water in the Trafalgar Square fountains.

In later years when it was impossible to get enough international tickets for a whole team an afternoon game against London Welsh organised by Alan Walters an ex player with the Welsh and our club coach took its place.

Our first trips to play abroad followed a link up with a Dutch club the Big Bulls of Almelo who's game plan was to get us too drunk to be able to play the next day almost but never quite worked,until the very last year when our Club Captain Ginger Volwes got his own team so pie eyed on "Brown Cows" on the boat over,that several didn't even appear for the game. Memories of these visits include being presented with a real bulls head complete with maggots inside , the Harwich pack moving away from a scrum with prop John Carter still in the scrummaging position unable to move, leaving Mick Button's wife Les at a motorway service station and the Brown Brothers breaking their toes when some one let go of the cover of the man hole they were pee- ing into. One young member also woke up in the morning on the boat covered in feathers having tried to get into a duvet thinking it was a sleeping bag.

Although having been retired for some time after a series of injuries including a broken jaw, dislocated shoulder and eye surgery (not a rugby injury)I finished my playing career in Holland in the infamous game against the Big Bulls along with Tony Burrows both in borrowed kit , substituting for players stricken by Ginger Vowles Brown Cows.

What a way to go.

Where next?

The first club photograph 1938/1939 The first club photograph on record, 1938/1939 team. Left to Right Back Row; C.Harris . G.Holmes

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