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Thatcham Rugby Club's quarter century

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Jackie Markham

Reporter:

Jackie Markham

Thatcham's Rugby Club is thriving. Now the club are building new facilities at Henwick Worthy Sports Ground

Thatcham Rugby Club held its first training session in June 1981 at Francis Baily School, attended by some forty-two 8-12 year old boys.  The club was officially launched on 30 August 1981 at Kennet School, by TV commentator Nigel Starmer-Smith, who became a life member. The club affiliated to Berkshire County RFU the following month, despite only fielding junior sides at the time.

In the early days the club was generously supported by the licensees of the Swan Inn, Thatcham, Jim and Jean Russon, who provided changing facilities and meeting rooms free of charge.

Members organised a number of events in the 1980s attended by rugby heroes of the day, including the Welsh left-wing Clive Rees who won 13 caps for Wales in the 1970s and 1980s; and Gavin Hastings, who throughout his career won 60 caps for his native Scotland.

The first annual dinner was held at Thatcham’s Silks nightclub in April 1982. Founding Club Chairman Mr Gwyn Jenkins welcomed the guests, including speaker Nigel Starmer-Smith, who said” the future of rugby football is in mini-rugby and junior rugby”, stressing that rugby is for fun. Every year since then a mini-tournament has been held for primary school children.  10 October this year saw the 25th anniversary of the Thatcham and Local Primary Schools Rugby tournament. It took place at Henwick Worthy Sports ground, and was a great success, attended by over 200 enthusiastic youngsters.

Always a generous supporters of local charities, in recent years, members of the senior team have stripped off to pose for a Naked Calendar, raising funds for cancer care and support.

Thatcham Rugby Club has come a long way in the relatively short time since its inception – now fielding mini, junior and senior rugby, as well as the Redsox Touch Rugby Women’s team.

The club is currently building new premises at the Henwick Worthy sports ground, and in January last year launched its “Buy a Brick Campaign” to help with the necessary fund-raising.

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