||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (May 2011)|
|Full name||Cowichan Rugby Football Club|
|Location||Duncan, British Columbia|
|League(s)||VIRU 1st Division|
There is ample evidence that certain sports were played on Vancouver Island well before WWI. The James Bay Athletic Association, was founded in 1886, and had to play someone. Rugby, field hockey, rowing, cricket field polo, horse riding and sailing flourished. These sports were part of the imperial experience around the world. They were introduced by naval personnel on bases such as Esquimalt, or by retired Indian Army officers who came to the Cowichan Valley. They were then bolstered by record immigration in 1911. The Cowichan Cricket and Sports Club certainly ran a rugby team in the twenties. The founding of the Cowichan Rugby Football Club in 1962 was not the beginning, but the revival of a dormant game. At first there was the idea. No field, no clubhouse, no changing rooms. Fixtures were arranged and a field found for the occasion. The club was the team on the field on that particular day. When the game ended and the beer was consumed, the club vanished. After a while one member and his wife offered their home for the after game “tea parties”. This gave the club some continuity and was greatly appreciated. There came a time, however, when the next step had to be taken: a permanent, independent location.
The Troika Era
The first venture consisted of an association between the Cowichan Rugby Football Club and the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club. This would seem unthinkable, but at the time, there were members who belonged to both clubs and it looked workable. The third member of this unholy trinity was the Cowichan Cricket Club, which had sold its ground to the City of Duncan and was looking at developing a wicket on property adjacent to the tennis club. Flooding of the Cowichan River covered the ground with gravel after leveling and seeding had taken place. Cricket was unhappy and tennis and rugby were incompatible; unmentionable things took place on the hallowed grass courts. Out at the cricket club property on Wharncliffe Road, the city developed what became McAdam Park, with decent changing rooms and hot water showers. The rugby club had the use of this facility and many fine teams played there, including the French club champions of the day, Béziers. Gradually however, the use of this facility became congested. It is a public park and sports such as football and soccer had equal rights. Furthermore, when it rained the city parks manager tended to shut down the field. The club wanted somewhere to call its own, where rugby could be played in any weather and only the members would be responsible for the grounds. After surveying the whole Cowichan/Chemainus area, the Herd Road site seemed most affordable.
The immediate problem was to turn a piece of rough pasture, subject to flooding, into playing fields. Excavating for the foundations turned into an exercise in dredging. It was decided to dig deep and fill the excavation, to grade, with gravel; so the seasonal level of water rises and falls under the changing rooms. Today, the Herd Road facilities boast two international sized fields, a clubhouse with changing room facilities, concession stand and parking lot. A new grandstand is in the process of fundraising.
- Rounsefell Cup:
- British Columbia Rugby Union Championship
- Champions: 1997 and 1998
- Barnard Cup:
- Vancouver Island Rugby Union 1st Division Championship
- Champions: 1988, 1997, 1998
- Victoria Times Cup:
- Vancouver Island Rugby Union 2nd Division Championiship
- Champions: 1937, 1996, 2005, 2011, 2013