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History

Thames RFC was formed in 1933 by Mr G Johnson, a director of Thames Board Mills and a former member of London Scottish and Ilford Wanderers RFC. He and Mr A J Noble, who had played for Northern RFC, established Thames on the playing field at the Esso Ground, adjacent to the Thames Board Mills factory. Initially, only games against Services sides could be arranged as established sides declined to play works teams. The first such game was played against the 1st Battalion Welsh Guards, which was lost 3-33. After a couple of years the Club moved to the Thames Sports Club in Purfleet, which was home until the Second World War.

The first game against a non-Service side was against Westcliff. Post war, the first fixtures had to be played near the Orsett Cock as waste paper bales were stored on the sports field at Purfleet. Subsequently, the ground was re-laid and games commenced at Purfleet in 1947 with the Club then running two sides.

The 1st team was very successful during this period, winning all their games for two seasons from 1949 until they drew with Barking Park (now Barking RFC of National League 4 South) thus spoiling a winning record. The Club remained at Purfleet until 1982 when the ground was sold and the rugby club found a new home at the Aveley School, Love Lane. Without a club house, the Club used the Ordnance Arms public house in Aveley as its' headquarters where it celebrated its' 50th anniversary with the Mayor of Thurrock being guest of honour at a celebration lunch. In 1993, the school ground was no longer available and with the help of Thurrock Borough Council, the Club secured a 10-year lease on a parcel of land bordering the M25 where the current membership is working to establish permanent facilities to secure its' future. When the Club took residence at Garron Laneon the former St Cedds School playing field, the ground was a ‘Tip.’ The field was severely overgrown with more stinging nettles than grass, growing to a height of at least 4ft tall in some areas! The local gypsies and other people had left old burnt out cars, furniture and any other rubbish that you would care to mention all over the field. To cap it all the Old Caretakers house was still standing at the time, and local vagrants were living there. Since that time, Thames Rugby Club and its members have worked extremely hard to achieve much-needed improvement. A lot of time and money has gone into creating a smart new outlook for local residents. This we hope to carry on doing for years to come. In the words of some residents, ‘we now have a beautiful view across green sports fields’. Many residents when selling their homes have even listed the field as an asset of their property. With the help of Visteon UK Limited, a partner company of Ford Motors, and with a lot of work from our members we have established a temporary building on site which offers a remarkable degree of comfort with bar and changing facilities. This, together with an excellent flat, well-drained playing surface, means that the Club now hosts junior and senior football as well as re-establishing junior rugby at Thames RFC.

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