A brief History Lesson
History 1 of 3

1. A brief History Lesson

In its 59 year history Rushden and Higham Rugby Club has grown beyond anything that the founders could possibly have hoped for. Set on the outskirts of Rushden in Northamptonshire, the club’s family values and ethos have set it apart from many others. The club was formed by a group of enthusiasts in 1950 that were new to the area and called a meeting to discuss the formation of a club. They played their first game on the 6th January 1951. Games were originally played in Higham Ferrers and the club’s first headquarters was the Green Dragon Hotel with a changing room in a stable at the rear of the hotel. By the 1952/53 season the club had moved twice. First, to the nearby Wilson’s Field, which flooded early in the season and stayed that way. Second, to the Railway Field just behind Higham Ferrers station. This remained their home until 1957/58 when they moved to Saffron Road. By 1959 the club was regularly fielding 3 teams and they moved to Rushden to John White’s sports ground on the Bedford Road and the luxury of 2 adjacent pitches.

In 1969 there was a final move to the club’s present home at Manor Park. Over many years, through the hard work and dedication of its members the club has established a clubhouse with 3 pitches, extensive changing and showering facilities, treatment room and social areas. Thursday 30th April 1970 saw the official opening of the new clubhouse. The club gained regional recognition for the first time in 1971/72 when they became East Midlands Champions, something the club repeated in 1984.

When Tony Goodfellow joined the club, although somewhat diminutive in stature his presence was larger than life and his keen-interest in body-building was rewarded with the ironic nickname of ‘Muscles’. Muscles joined the army and in 1972 was posted to Northern Ireland, tragically within a few days he was killed whilst on duty by a sniper’s bullet. Rushden and Higham had lost a true ‘clubman’. Following his death his family presented the ‘Muscles Trophy’ to the club and to this day the ‘Muscles Trophy’ is still presented to ‘clubman of the year’ and regarded as the most prestigious award that can be received by a member of the club.

In the 59 years since those enthusiasts first met to form a rugby club the game has changed dramatically. Rugby is now available to all sections of the community and in addition to three senior squads the club currently boasts a Colts squad and a healthy and lively Mini and Junior section that has teams from Under 7’s to Under 17.