Harlow rugby club
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (November 2011)|
|Full name||Harlow Rugby Club|
|Website||Harlow Rugby Club|
|Colours||Red and Green|
|Ground(s)||Ram Gorse, Harlow|
|Competition||London 3 North East|
Harlow Rugby Club currently fields three senior teams, plus a very vibrant ladies team. The first XV currently compete in London 3 North East whilst the Fourth Team "The Saints" compete in the Green King Country Clubs Premiere.
The club came into existence on December 8, 1955 at a meeting in the Essex Skipper pub in Harlow. Founder members included; Alexander J McCowan, Dr John Huntley, Ron Bracewell, Ron Strudwick, Ron Parkin, Derek Jennings and Eric Jones.
Harlow initially played in a white and green striped strip. The New Town Development Corporation provided grounds for the club at a token rent of £15 per annum rent. This ground wasn’t usable to begin with so the club played rugby on a local farmer's field for the interim.
The Ram Gorse Club House was opened by Sir Richard Costain in 1959. Over the years, membership grew as Harlow attracted members from all over the UK, and especially from Wales. Harlow fielded more and more teams on match days. During the 1980/81 season Harlow were able to field seven different teams on a Saturday. During these years one of Harlow’s cornerstone teams was the Saints. The Saints have had two unbeaten seasons during their time, 1975/76 (a season in which Mike Ryland played every game) and 1982/83.
The strength in depth at Harlow continued over several decades due tp some great coaching teams but also from a constant tide of juniors coming into the game. Gwynne Harris, the PE Advisor for West Essex Education Authority for a number of years, was responsible for bringing many high quality sports teachers from the Welsh colleges to the town during its boom years. The sports teachers encouraged their pupils to join the club and the club built what would be one of the highest quality junior rugby set-ups in the UK.
When leagues were formed in 1987/88, Harlow were placed in Eastern Counties Division One. They gained promotion every two years until finally reaching London Division One in 1993. Harlow have never won the Essex Cup, however, Harlow has won the Eastern Counties Cup twice; firstly in 1995 and secondly in 1997, and in 1999 a Harlow Sevens squad reached the Middlesex 7s finals and played on the hallowed turf at Twickenham Stadium beating Richmond in their last tournament as a professional club.
Winning 100 matches in a row from 1979 to 1981 was a magnificent achievement for Harlow Colts – and having a reputation like this meant getting bigger fixtures. Wasps, Saracens, Leicester, and Bristol were just a few of the first-class teams Harlow Colts played and expected to beat. During this period, a number of Harlow players - Dave Hurley, Jonathon Locke and Wayne Kearns, were selected to play first-class rugby for leading clubs. Jonathon Locke and Wayne Kearns both achieved junior international honours for England and Ireland respectively. More recently, Harlow junior, Steven Pope, has represented London Wasps, Blackheath R.C., London Welsh and Swansea RFC rugby clubs and he has also represented England Divisions against South Africa.
There are currently over 150 juniors and minis registered with the club.