Paisley Rugby Club – A History
Paisley Rugby Football Club was officially formed in 1983 with the merger of Paisley Grammarians and Craigielea, but the club’s roots go all the way back to 1870 and a club known simply as Paisley Football Club – those being the days before the word “rugby” was needed to distinguish the egg chasers from participants of the game known as association football, or soccer.
Paisley FC played at Blackhall in the town, which is believed to be roughly the same area now known as Anchor, where the modern day club calls home. In 1874, Paisley were admitted to the Scottish Football Union along with the eight original members. The union was renamed the Scottish Rugby Union in the 1920s.
Paisley’s first Scotland international was a Mr D Lang who represented Scotland against England in London on March 6, 1876, Scotland losing by one goal and one try to nil. Mr Lang was one of the last players to be involved in a rugby match in which each team had 20 players.
The following season, 1877, the game changed to allow only 15 players in each team. Mr Lang represented Scotland again, this time beating Ireland in Belfast by the interesting score of four goals, two drop goals and two tries to nil. He wore the number 9 jersey in this match, although it is difficult to know whether the number had any significance in relation to playing position.
After 1880, Paisley FC seems to have disappeared and no records exist of any club under that name until the existing club formed in 1983. However, a club called Craigielea existed in the town from 1883 and played at various venues including Hawkhead Rd and Seedhill Rd.
In the 1920s, Paisley Grammar School formed a rugby team and the former pupils formed Old Grammarians later in the same decade. Grammarians and the school team played in Gallowhill and later in Penilee before, in the 1960s, Grammarians moved away from sharing with the school to their own ground on Crookston Rd in Glasgow.
In the late 1960s, the club changed its name to Paisley Grammarians and moved back to the town, playing at Seedhill and Abbotsinch before settling at Anchor where a new clubhouse was built.
The merger with Craigielea had been in the pipeline for some time, finally being completed in 1983 with the birth of Paisley Rugby Football Club, often shortened to Paisley Rugby Club such as on the current club crest.
Notable players: Other than D Lang, no Paisley player has represented their country at full international level. However, some have come close. Former Paisley Grammarians player D G M Smith won two Scotland B caps in 1977 and 1978 while playing for West of Scotland and one J G Carswell played in a non-capped international match against Japan while playing for Jordanhill College.
We are a young and ambitious rugby club currently running three senior teams and several junior teams from mini level to Under 17.
Our 1st XV currently play in West League Division 3. Based in Paisley our home is at the Anchor Recreation Grounds, (opposite Power League 5–a–side football centre).
New players of all ages and abilities are always welcome at the club and should contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Non-playing members are also welcome and a family membership is available.