Although rugby union was played in Ruislip before the Second World War, and there was also a club in existence for a brief period around 1950, Ruislip Rugby Football Club was officially formed in 1954. It is reported that, for the very first trial, eight players arrived at the ground in Herlwyn Avenue and ended up sheltering from the pouring rain under a tree!
The first ever game played by Ruislip RFC was against Westminster College on 2nd October 1954, which the visitors won 8-14. The first points scored by a Maroons player were the result of a penalty from the boot of Brian Smyth.
The club suffered a huge setback when vandals set fire to the original clubhouse on the night of 4th November 1960 and the wooden building was completely destroyed. However, the committee and members overcame this disaster and the current clubhouse was opened by England captain Dickie Jeeps on 11th April 1962 when Ruislip hosted an A. Prosser-Harries Invitation XV to celebrate the occasion.
Steady progress has since been made over the years; Ruislip first winning the Agar Cup in 1987 (and, most recently, in 2003/2004) and appearing in eight Middlesex Cup Finals - winning the cup four times, including a notable hat-trick of victories in the years 1990/91, 1991/92 and 1992/93.
Undoubtedly Ruislip's most famous cup game was in the 3rd Round of the John Player Cup (now the EDF Energy Cup) against twice winners Gosforth on 23rd January 1988. In front of a 1,500-plus crowd, Ruislip narrowly lost 10-13 in a match that was covered by BBC Television and Radio 2.
Ruislip were founder members of London Division 1 in 1987/88 and, apart from one season in London 2 North (1992/93) maintained this status until relegated at the end of 1999/2000. Successive demotions saw the club in London 4 North West by 2003/04, winning promotion for only the second time in our history. Only one defeat in the league meant Ruislip gained promotion as champions of London 3 NW in 2006/07 and last year the club consolidated its position in London 2 North by finishing in fourth place.
The club now runs nine senior teams – the 1st, 2nd and 3rd XVs are for the more serious players, but there’s a seriously social 4th XV, the trophy winning Vets and three ultra-keen squads in the new Senior Youth Group.
Ruislip has also had one of the strongest Mini and Youth sections in the area for many years and this attracts hundreds of children to the club on a Sunday morning. There are teams in all age groups from Under 7 upwards, supported by a dedicated and enthusiastic band of qualified coaches, parents and players from the senior squad all helping the youngsters to learn and enjoy the great game of rugby union.
As well as this investment in youth, Ruislip has consistently put resources into pitch maintenance and ground improvements. Recent projects include the installation of a new drainage system for the floodlit pitch (2004), new lights for the training area (2005) and a total refurbishment of the clubhouse bar and facilities during 2006/07. Further upgrades to the club’s amenities are in hand for this season 2010-11 and more are planned for the future.