It was back in 1923 that a group of like minded local businessmen met at the 'Davenport Club' in Stockport and thrashed out the plans for the formation of a new rugby club. The hard core of them were a break away group from Heaton Moor Rugby Club who were already into their 25th year. The first Stockport President club was Henry Fildes who was happened to be the Liberal member of Parliament for Stockport. The committee originally decided on club colours of maroon and white hoops but this was brought about by the availability of a cheap set of kit rather than any particular colour preference. This later changed in the forthcoming years to the present colours of red green and white hoops. More importantly they gave the club the original name of 'Davenport R.U.F.C.' even though the first grounds that the club acquired were on Grange Road, Bramhall. In fact the club has never had it's home in Davenport. After the war that didn't stop the committee seeking and gaining permission from the Bromley-Davenports of Capesthorne Hall to use their family emblem of the 'Felon's Head' (It is a noose you can see round his neck)
Despite the constant problems with drainage and the access to changing facilities they were to remain at Grange Road until the war. When peace returned, the club bought 11 acres of land on Hanley Road, Bramhall with the help of a grant from Cheshire R.F.U. The original club house was a converted 1914 Army hut that was brought over from Grange Road. The members worked hard to make it comfortable but the washing facilities were still a bit basic. Water was drawn in buckets from a nearby strewn. It was then warmed in a 'tar burner' nick named puffing billy' and as the players returned from the exertions of the match they were presented with one bucket of hot and two of cold to fill one of the baths that the club had picked up cheap when they were discarded by the Council. The 'eco-friendly' system was completed when the plug was pulled and the bath water returned to a nearby stream!
A new brick built club house was built in 1956 but as it turned out we weren't going to get much use out of it. The final move came in 1964 when the club moved to its present location on Headlands Road. With the Council wanting the site at Handley Road for housing the 11 acres of green belt land and a purpose built club house all acquired with change from Â£40,000. The location was named 'The Memorial Ground' in honour of 11 members of the club who had been lost in the 2nd World War.
Glengarth 7's were begun in 1967 and held every year for the next 21 years. It raised many thousands of pounds for Glengarth House in Marple which was a centre of disabled children. From it's earliest years it attracted the top names in the game and countless Internationals. It took place early season in a time when 7-a-side rugby was in it's heyday. The competition which traditionally been a curtain raiser for the season became unsustainable with the inception of League rugby in the mid 80's. when clubs became more anxious to practice the 15 man game before the season started in earnest.
The start of league based fixtures in 1986 caught the Davenport with experienced but aging squad of players. The club may have been guilty of thinking that the leagues would be a passing fad and over the next 10 years we slowly slipped down the ranks until eventually reaching North West 3.
In 1992 the contentious decision was made to change the club's name to Stockport RUFC This was proposed on commercial grounds, but it didn't get things going on the playing side and even 14 years years on there are still those who still think of us as Davenport. At least the similarity of the two names allows everyone to shout 'Come on PORT'.
After some dark years the club eventually found a knight in shining armour to lead us up the league s definitely. Not a big name brought in a huge expense, no it was a man who had played most of his rugby at the club. Dave Parker.
The team made an indifferent start to the 96-97 season and following their defeat at Ruskin Park in October 1996 the club turned to Dave and he took over as Head Coach. The clubÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fortunes immediately took an upwards turn. In his first season he brought the team out of the relegation zone into a respectable mid-table position.
In the summer of 1997 the club embarked on one of itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most adventurous tours as they followed the British Lions to South Africa. They forged close links whilst away and even invited over some talented South African recruits. With a new sense of purpose the team went from strength to strength. The squad was and remains one of largely home grown local talent with a sprinkling of colonial assistance. (Over 60% of the 2001-2002 squad played junior rugby at the club)
We enjoyed three seasons of sponsorship with Independent Insurance but their sudden demise in the summer of 2000 lead to a worrying time as the marquee, erected to host their summer party, was already up. On the back of their sponsored tent a Music in the Marquue event had become a regular feature in June. The club decided to go it alone and have continued to do so.
A number of well know acts have graced the stage in the magnificent tent contructed on the first team pitch. 'Music in the Marquee' has played host to Paul Jones, The Animals, Elkie Brookes, Procul Harum, Ruby Turner, Fairport Convention and many more. In 2007 the main attraction were the Boot Leg Beatles who appeared with The Searchers. In recent years the Halle Orchestra has held it's Summer Charity Ball on the Friday evening with it's fine musicians enjoying the chance to let their hair down.
Recent seasons saw us achieve three successive promotions until we reached our present level of North 2 West. During these seasons the team has been strengthened by outstanding players from South Africa in the shape of Number 8 Martin Bothma, prop Martin Els and fly half Louis Marx who played for five years for us. In recent years we enjoyed watching the bulldog qualities of Bertram Johnson.
1998-1999 saw us reach our 75th anniversary and the Club continues to flourish with a very strong Mini and Junior Section being a feature of the club for many years. We have always had players who have gone on to play representative rugby for the county all the way up to England level.
We made a poor start to the 2001-2002 season but we eventually saw a marked improvement in form which eventually saw us rise to 3rd place in the league. The 2002-2003 season saw Stockport finish in 3rd place again and following a 4th place finish in 2003-2004 season. The 2004-2005 season brought a change on the coaching front. Tim Burgon had returned to the club from Manchester with the ambition to take the team to the next level. In the end we fell just short. Caldy pipped us to the automatic promotion place by just 8 points scored during the season.
2005-2006 was going to be an important season and what a season it proved to be. We were crowned as Champions of North 2 West at Rochdale a week before we travelled South to Twickenham for the Final of the Powergen Intermediate Cup against Morley. It was an epic day and in a tight game a try from Dan Eccles proved the difference between the teams with the cup going to Stockport 11-6. That wasn't the end of the club's success. The 2nd XV were the unbeaten champions of the Miller Homes Division 1. the Under 15's and the junior Colts both won the Cheshire Cup and Stockport also team won the Toc H 10's.
Stockport is a club with serious ambitions, but it does not stop it from remaining a warm friendly place with a family feel to it. This is epitomised by the Kay Weeks who completed 3 years as president. Kay, who was the ClubÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first lady President in itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 85 years, is mother of two 1st XV squad members. Joe at scrum half and hooker Chris who have each played at the club for 20 years. Husband Ed is a Vice president and manager of the 3rd XV. Her daughter, Alison, has worked behind the bar and is a regular visitor to the club. On a Saturday afternoon you will find Kay up in purpose built box next to the 1st XV pitch in her other role as the touchline Steven Spielberg of match videos.
If you're looking for a place to play rugby or watch rugby them Stockport Rugby Club can give you that and a lot more. No matter your age or ability come down and give us a visit.
The Future is very bright
The Future is Red Green and White
Press &Publicity Officer.
In 2003 the Club celebrated it's 80th anniversary. One day it is hoped to compile a history of the club. If you have any contributions to make then please contact the editor of these pages
Many Thanks to Norman Harris Club President 1966-68 for his help in compiling this article.