History 1 of 3

1. History 1

The following history of Heaton Moor Rugby Union Football Club was compiled and written by Brian Duckworth, John Jeskins, Mike McDermott and David Todd. They acknowledge the articles written for the 75th. Anniversary brochure by the late Reg Hall and Dennis Huxstep, which provided an excellent source of reference. In addition, they wish to thank Phil Turner for his invaluable help designing the brochure.

One hundred years ago, the future of amateur rugby in the North of England did not appear very bright as, in August 1895, there had occurred "the remarkable spectacle of a Union ordering a strike because its members were receiving payment for their work."

In reality, the Rugby Football Union had blacklisted most of the northern clubs because they were compensating some of their players who lost wages when playing on a Saturday. The result was a meeting in Huddersfield, which set up the Northern Union (now the Rugby League) and over the following eight years, R.F.U. membership halved from 481 clubs to 244 as clubs switched allegiance.

Stockport had a Rugby League club, the "Clarets", who were founder members of the League and it is reported that a crowd of over 10,000 spectators attended one of their first home games.

Against this background, a group of enthusiastic and optimistic young men living in and around Heaton Moor held a meeting in June 1899 at which they decided to form themselves.

The first ground was a rented field on Peel Moat Road, with rather primitive changing accommodation at the Chapel House Hotel. Regular fixtures were difficult to obtain, as there were only a dozen clubs in the whole of Greater Manchester - now there are well over fifty. For their first ever fixture, H.M.R.U.F.C. turned out in a black and white strip on Saturday, 23rd. September 1899 against Manchester Athletic Club in Fallowfield. The first victory came in the next fixture against the 3rd Lancashire Fusiliers on the 14th October 1899.

Steady progress ensued, so that by 1903, Moor was able to turn out a second side, thanks partly to the demise of M.A.C., their first opponents. Two of these former M.A.C. members were eventually to serve the Club with distinction. H.S. Johnson was President of Lancashire County R.F.U. from 1928-30, while Fred Jagger was to be Club President for eighteen years between 1934 and 1952.