PORTSMOUTH RUGBY CLUB

A Brief History

 

In December 1886 Portsmouth Rugby Club was formed following the Amalgamation of two of the leading clubs in the city, Victoria Football Club and Southsea Football Club. The club took off in 1886 led by the immortal Harry Andrews as captain. Top class fixtures against the like of Newport and Roslyn park took place in the late 1890’s. in 1890 the club won the Hampshire Cup and were immediately challenged by the winners of the Monmouthshire Cup. We beat them in front of 70 of their travelling supporters.

Unfortunately, the club was wound up for a short period around the time of the Boer War despite having regular fixtures against the likes of Wasps, Coventry, Northampton and the mighty Cardiff. We were also in debt to the tune of £120. Again, the club ceased to function during the 1914-18 war. After the Great War, the club was reformed by the Portsmouth Old Public Schools Association and named the Portsmouth Casuals. The letter C remains in the club badge.

During the second World War the club operated in name only but was resurrected after the war by Cyril Turner. All games had to be played away as our ground and clubhouse had been appropriated by the War Office.

We were offered land which was below sea level by the council and despite many hours of digging drainage trenches by members no games were ever played on what was a constantly waterlogged pitch. We were then fortunate enough to rent some old army huts on our current ground and through the efforts of Les Pine negotiated a lease with the Crown Land Agent. The changing rooms had no glass in the windows and the shower was a hosepipe with holes in it. An old forestry hut was purchased and utilized as the clubhouse.

In 1975 the council erected proper changing rooms and showers and the club managed to raise funds to erect a prefab clubhouse.

With the formation of the league Portsmouth started in London 3 South West where we experienced mixed fortunes until we gained promotion to London 2 South in 2000. With the help of a successful lottery bid we built our existing clubhouse. We were runner up in the division for three seasons but lost all our play offs, eventually gaining promotion to London 1 in 2006.

We stayed in London 1 for six seasons before relegation to London 2SW. Relegation to London 3sw in 2016-17 saw us finish 3rd and miss promotion by one point. Disappointingly we also finished 3rd in the 2018-19 season.

 The club currently runs four senior sides, two Ladies sides, a Colt’s side and a Junior and Mini section of 350.