Fri 25 May 2018 22:17

Mission Statement

To provide all members of our community with the opportunity to enjoy rugby union football, regardless of age, ability or background, in a fun, safe and friendly atmosphere.

Club History

Our local paper, The Bucks Free Press, records that although it was not until after the First World War that rugby football gained any degree of popularity in Buckinghamshire, several clubs were established in the area towards the end of the 19th. Century, often in the face of considerable local prejudice and official opposition. When an exploratory meeting was held in High Wycombe in 1891, the few zealots in attendance faced one major problem - where to play rugby. According to The Bucks Free Press, the nearest clubs in existence at that time were at Windsor, Taplow, Reading, Oxford and Thame. Bye-laws governing the use of the Rye Mead in High Wycombe prohibited the playing of rugby football. Despite this initial problem, a club was set up and eventually, permission was obtained from High Wycombe Cricket Club for the use of their ground during the winter months in exchange for half of the cash taken at matches. In November 1891, the local bye-laws were changed to allow rugby on Rye Mead and the following April, High Wycombe’s first rugby club reported a very satisfactory inaugural season.

Through the good auspices of former President, Jim Rivett, the Club acquired an octagonal Victorian table on which is a plaque that records that the table was presented by High Wycombe Rugby Club on the marriage of Mr. I.A.Howell, the Town Clerk, to Miss A.E.Priest on 18th.October 1893. We know rugby continued to be played in the town during the 1890’s, a fixture being recorded in our local paper between Wycombe Rugby Club and Oxford Military College ( later to become The Royal Military College of Science, Shrivenham) on 18th.November 1893. Rugby continued in the town until the outbreak of the First World War.

Rugby continued to be played by the local Royal Grammar School but town rugby did not formally resume until 12th. January 1929 when the present Club was founded as the Old Wycombiensians by a group of old boys from The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe. Matches were played on a pitch loaned by the School and afterwards, we entertained at the Flint public house. With the outbreak of war again in 1939, the Club disbanded for the duration of hostilities and reformed again in May 1945 at the end of the war in Europe. We continued to use facilities at the School and, due to a shortage of both cars and petrol, all travel to away games was by public transport. By the end of 1947, with the School expanding, we were forced to look for facilities elsewhere which we eventually found at Redford’s Sports Ground, Totteridge. We had the use of two pitches and, still without a clubhouse, we entertained after matches at the nearby Black Boy public house, Terriers.

Eventually, we made approaches to our Local Council and we were offered a plot of land adjacent to Kingsmead to build on and the use of land on the ‘Mead’ which provided us with two pitches. The first Clubhouse was built over a period of four months by Club members out of a dismantled, pre-fabricated ex National Fire Service building and was opened on 26th.November 1949. This building was extended in 1953 and again in 1960 to accommodate the expansion of the Cub to five regular Saturday sides. During this period, with increasing numbers of non RGS old boy members, including players from both the local (in those days) Bomber Command Headquarters and the American air base, we changed our name first to Wycombiensians and finally, in 1962, we became High Wycombe.

With continued expansion, the present two storey Clubhouse was built in 1971 and, with two subsequent extensions in 1978 and 1982, has reached its present size.

Early December 2016 we sustained a major fire in our cellars which resulted in the destruction of all the equipment & stock in them, including the beer/soft drinks chilling/dispensing equipment and the fire contamination of both floors of the clubhouse including all the audio/visual equipment & leading to the whole bar (Except the brickwork) being ripped out & replaced, a new bar hoist installed & the cleaning of all walls, ceilings, floors, furniture & trophy cabinets & their contents upstairs followed by redecoration & the pressure washing of all walls, ceilings & floors downstairs. All destroyed/damaged equipment has now been replaced & all re-instatement work finished and we are fully operational again.

On the ‘Mead’ we have five Senior pitches/Junior pitches &, seventeen Mini pitches. . We look to run four Senior Saturday sides & an occasional Vets XV & our First XV play at level 7 in the Southern Counties North league.. Circa 400 children are catered for on Sundays with thriving, well organised Mini and Junior sections &r with the Vets XV gives us continuity of rugby from the Under sixes to the Over sixties and helps secure the playing future of the Club. Our Community rugby team, supported by external funding continue to be involved in a Rugby & Tag Rugby initiative into local non-rugby playing schools, especially in deprived areas around the town, which has contributed to our ever expanding mini/Youth section. With the Baby Belles & Belles, we have an enthusiastic expanding Girls/Ladies section with the Belles now playing League rugby .We are grateful for the support we receive from sponsors and advertisers, our members & not forgetting Sport England, Wycombe District Council & the Rugby Football Foundation. During last summer, we ran a very successful sixth Touch Rugby League with16 mixed sex teams & circa 180 male/female players aged 16+ involved & look to continue this next Summer. We no longer have an U19 Colts who now play senior rugby & with a proactive rugby committee and progressive coaching team, working on developing a spirit of togetherness & maintaining a close relationship with Bucks New University who use our facilities, this season we look to work hard & sustain ourselves in Level 7 rugby.

Over the years, we enjoyed good runs in the former John Player Cup , going out in the third round to such clubs as Rosslyn Park, Leicester, Gloucester, Moseley and Wasps. We also enjoy touring having visited Chile a few seasons ago, Italy ( hosted by Trento and also playing Valpollicella), the USA four times(once including the Bahamas), Spain, the Netherlands twenty two times (including playing Arnhem on each visit), the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, the Isle of Man twice, Guernsey twice, and also toured Wales, the West Country, and Scotland and Newcastle several times. The Minis regularly visit BSB Brussels and host them on return visits and age groups from the Junior section have toured to Ireland, Italy & Sweden & the Colts, France.

We are proud to record the following players who have passed through our ranks and on to gain International honours:

J E (Ted) Woodward English International 1952/56
R E (Ron) Syrett English International 1957/60
R C (Clive) Ashby English International 1965/66
G J (Hamish) Keith Scottish International 1967/68
Nick Horncastle England Under 16 international 1994/95
Nick Beal English International and
British Lion
1996/99
1997
Shaquille Jack English Under 16 International 2011/2012

Registered both as an Industrial and Provident Society and a Community Amateur Sports Club, attaining Seal of Approval accreditation stages one & two followed by Whole Club Seal of Approval, we face the future with great expectation and we look forward to meeting friends old and new both on and off the field of play.

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