THE HISTORY OF HERTFORD RFC
The Club, originally known as Old Hertfordians RFC was founded in 1932 by a group of enthusiasts from Hertford Grammar School who had been introduced to the game at school in 1928. With just fifteen playing members and a subscription of 2/6d (£0.12.5p) they played four games that season, winning 3 but being heavily defeated by the School XV
Between 1932 and 1949 the club had a nomadic existence using six different grounds. In that first season the schools facilities were used, but the following year, basing itself at the Reindeer pub on Port Hill, the Club had use of a pitch on Hartham Common. From there it moved in 1935 to a ground by the sewage works at Rye House, the scene of the notorious plot on the life of King Charles II. Three years later came the last pre-war move to Ware Road, Hoddesdon.
While at Rye House a pavillion had been purchased for £30 and this was proudly and carefully transported to the Ware Road site in 1938.
On reforming after the War in 1946 there was both good and bad news. The Ware Road pitch had been ploughed up but the club was £25 better off with the sale of the pavillion. That year the Club made use of the recreation ground in Station Road, Broxbourne, the only problem being that a public right of way ran across the pitch and every Saturday afternoon an old lady would wander across the ground pushing a pram in which she collected firewood. A sympathetic referee would arrange for half time to coincide with her visit but otherwise she was quite oblivious to what was going on around her.
In 1948 came the penultimate move further down Station Road to a constantly flooded nettle strewn pitch beside the River Lea. In 1949 the current site at Hoe Lane, Ware was purchased from McMullens for £825. What had been grazing land was turned into two pitches. Inevitably the early games were not so much a question of playing rugby but more a question of going through the motions!
At Hoe Lane two huts were erected at a cost of £550 and in 1953 a small pavillion was built on the front of the huts and was dedicated as a memorial to the Old Boys killed in the War. The present clubhouse was built in 1966 and six years later, with the non-old boys now a significant minority within the Club the decision was made to change the name to Hertford RFC.
THE PRESENT TIME
Since the advent of professionalism in rugby football, many clubs seem uncertain as to what can be realistically achieved and in what direction their ambitions lie. No such uncertainty exists at Hertford.
We are committed to achieve a level of management and professional coaching necessary to sustain our position as the largest Rugby Club in Hertfordshire, and to offer comprehensive facilities to junior and senior players alike.
Just a few years ago Hertford Rugby Football Club aspired to play amateur rugby in London League 1, an essential ambition if we were to provide a high level of competitive rugby and retain the best of our progressing young players. We achieved that ambition in 2001 / 2002. In 2002 / 2003 - our first season in London 1, Hertford RFC came 3rd in the League and also won the prestigious Powergen Intermediate Cup at Twickenham. In 2004 we gained promotion to National league 3 South by beating Cinderford in the playoffs.
The Director of Rugby oversees 5 senior sides, which include the first team squad, the development squad colts and three social sides including veterans. The First XV coach is a professional appointment and together with the First XV manager regard the National Leagues and Herts County Cup Competitions as of paramount importance to the success of the season. They are coached to play open entertaining rugby supervised by a travelling Sports Therapist.
The Second XV compete in the Canterbury Shield and the Lambs Cup and and the Third, Forth, Fifth and 6th teams compete in Hertfordshire Leagues.
The Academy is coached and managed with particular emphasis on the progression of young players into senior sides. The club coach is a professional appointment who co-ordinates the coaching of all senior and junior sides.
Hertford Rugby Football Club first team players are never far from the threshold of County rugby. Over thirty players from Hertford have represented Hertfordshire totalling over 250 caps.
Hertford Academy are of particular significance to our club. The colts compete in the National Cup, Hertfordshire County Cup and Hertfordshire Colts seven-a-side. The policy of Hertford Rugby Football Club to include the Colts in our development squad underlines our objective that former Colts should be well represented in our First XV.
All new players at every level are warmly welcomed. Training commences in July each year on Tuesday and Thursday evenings
YOUTH AND MINI RUGBY
The Club Youth and Mini sections run a total of eleven very enthusiastic and successful age group squads. On Sundays, the pitches at Hoe Lane field teams from the Youth Section - Under 13's to Under 18's and Mini Section - Under 7's to Under 12's. So on what is most peoples day of rest you will find up to 600 youngsters and many, many mums, dads, brothers and sisters purposely involved on the pitches of Hoe Lane and elsewhere. All age groups have qualified RFU coaches and many senior club players also lend a hand with coaching the youngsters.
Both junior sections are very successful . A full fixture list of league matches and friendlies are provided throughout the season The teams also compete in rugby festivals around the country, the Mini section holding it's own Floodlit Festival, County Cup competitions and tours in the UK and abroad too. We promote a high profile on safety with match fixtures and events at Hoe Lane being covered by professional first aiders.
Our over-riding principle is that rugby is a game for fun and to make friends; it is not so much the winning or the losing that is important but the PLAYING. This is especially so with young people who should be encouraged to enjoy themselves, to win with modesty and lose with dignity, so that after the game the fun continues and friendships are created. All the family are welcome and invited to take part.
We pride ourselves in having a Club where everyone is welcome, young and old, male and female and social events throughout the year reflect this. In its early years the club developed a reputation for hospitality and this has continued right up to the present and clubs from all over the United Kingdom and the world have visited Hoe Lane to play and sample the tremendous welcome and entertainment always meted out to visitors.
That is just a brief insight into what we were and what we are. But don't take our word for for itCome and see for yourself !!