Blackheath F.C.

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Blackheath rfc logo.png
Full name Blackheath Football Club
Union Rugby Football Union
Nickname(s) Club
Founded 1858; 158 years ago (1858)
Location Blackheath, London, England
Ground(s) Rectory Field (Capacity: 6,000[1])
President Mike Newsom
Director of Rugby Yusuf Ibrahim
Coach(es) Colin Ridgeway, Bobby Howe, Sam Howard
Captain(s) Tom Bason
League(s) National League 1
2014–15 6th
Team kit
Official website

Blackheath Football Club is a rugby union club based in Blackheath in south-east London, now playing at the Rectory Field (known as 'The Rec' or 'The Parsonage'). It was founded in 1858 and is the oldest open rugby club in the world since becoming open in 1862. "Open" in this context means that membership was open to anyone, not merely those attending, or old boys from, a particular institution (e.g. a school, university or hospital). It is also the third-oldest rugby club in continuous existence in the world, after Dublin University Football Club and Edinburgh Academical Football Club. The Blackheath club also helped organise the world's first rugby international (between England and Scotland in Edinburgh on 27 March 1871) and hosted the first international between England and Wales ten years later – the players meeting and getting changed at the Princess of Wales public house. Blackheath, along with Civil Service FC, is one of the two clubs that can claim to be a founder member of both The Football Association and the Rugby Football Union. The club currently play in National League 1 the third tier of the English rugby union system.


Early history[edit]

The institution was founded as "Blackheath Football Club" in 1858 by old boys of Blackheath Proprietary School who played a "carrying" game of football made popular by Rugby School. When the old boys played against the current pupils supporters would shout for either "Club" or "School" accordingly. This is why to this day supporters of BFC shout for "Club", not for "Blackheath".

In 1863 the club developed the tactic of passing the ball from player to player as an alternative to the solo break and the "kick and follow-up".

In 1863 Blackheath was a founder member of The Football Association which was formed at the Freemasons' Tavern, Great Queen Street, on Lincoln Inn Fields, London 26 October 1863 with the intention to frame a code of laws that would embrace the best and most acceptable points of all the various methods of play under the one heading of "football". Mr Francis Maule Campbell, a member of Blackheath, was elected treasurer. At the fifth meeting Campbell argued that hacking was an essential element of 'football' and that to eliminate hacking would "do away with all the courage and pluck from the game, and I will be bound over to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice."[2] At the sixth meeting on 8 December Campbell withdrew Blackheath, explaining that the rules that the FA intended to adopt would destroy the game and all interest in it. Other rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the Football Association. In this way the great divide between soccer and rugby took place.

In December 1870 Edwin Ash, secretary of Richmond Football Club published a letter in the papers which said, "Those who play the rugby-type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play." On 26 January 1871 a meeting attended by representatives from 22 clubs was held in London at the Pall Mall Restaurant. As a result of this meeting the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was founded. Three lawyers who had been pupils at Rugby School drew up the first laws of the game which were approved in June 1871. The Club is one of seven of the original twenty-one clubs to have survived to this day.

Later history[edit]

Blackheath initially played its matches on the Heath (meeting and changing at the Princess of Wales public house) but occasional interruptions from spectators led the club to move, initially to a private field (Richardson's Field) in Blackheath before moving to the Rectory Field in 1883.

On 27 March 1871, England (captained by Blackheath's captain and with three other Club players in the 20-strong side) played Scotland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, losing by one point. This was the first international rugby union game in history. Richardson's Field hosted the first England v. Wales fixture on 19 February 1881, which England won, again with four Club players in the side. In 1982 Blackheath joined the list of winning teams at the Glengarth Sevens at Stockport R.U.F.C

Club honours[edit]

Current standings[edit]

2015–16 National League 1 Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Richmond 21 17 1 3 632 375 257 11 2 83
2 Hartpury College 21 16 0 5 659 322 337 10 3 77
3 Blackheath 20 16 1 3 521 315 206 5 2 73
4 Plymouth Albion 21 14 0 7 482 430 52 7 3 66
5 Esher 21 13 0 8 580 400 180 11 3 66
6 Ampthill 20 12 1 7 466 410 56 9 4 63
7 Darlington Mowden Park 20 13 0 7 527 440 87 8 2 62
8 Rosslyn Park 21 12 0 9 458 401 57 5 2 55
9 Fylde 20 8 1 11 526 514 12 9 7 50
10 Coventry 21 9 1 11 506 461 45 7 3 48
11 Hull Ionians 21 6 0 15 436 568 –132 6 8 38
12 Loughborough Students 20 6 0 14 418 479 –61 5 6 35
13 Wharfedale 21 5 1 15 414 610 –196 7 4 33
14 Blaydon 19 5 0 14 270 503 –233 3 5 28
15 Henley Hawks 20 5 1 14 307 630 –323 3 1 26
16 Cinderford 21 3 1 17 322 666 –344 4 3 21
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background is the promotion place. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 6 February 2016
Source: "National League 1". NCA Rugby. 

Modern club[edit]

  • Blackheath FC's first team currently plays in National Division 1 in England, but the club fields many sides.
  • The ever popular Mini and Junior sections now have their own home ground, based at Kidbrooke Road, Well Hall, London, SE9.
  • The club provides sections ranging from Under-6's right through to Under-18's, and has experienced success at all levels.
  • The Mini Section successfully ran its first ever Mini Rugby Festival at Eltham College on 25 November 2007.
  • Graduates of the club's junior section include several county players, and Frankie Neale who plays for the first team as well as England academy. The club at Under-18 level works in conjunction with London Leisure College to make sure that players with academic commitments do not get tempted away from the game.


Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Simon Legg Prop England England
Desmond Brett Prop England England
James Cleverly Prop England England
Nick Winwood Prop Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
James Cleverly Prop England England
Jake Lock Prop England England
Alex Brown Prop England England
Mike Freeman Prop England England
Damien Patot Prop France France
Joe Brady Prop England England
Zsa Valishvili Prop Georgia (country) Georgia
Jack Knight Hooker England England
Harry Allen Hooker England England
Bill Sandison Hooker England England
Joe Bonner Hooker England England
Rhys Barney Hooker England England
Nick Agbo Hooker England England
Charlie Woodall Hooker England England
Neil Dewale Lock England England
Alastair Vanner Lock England England
Tom Bason Lock England England
Ralph Cooke Lock England England
Ben Johnson Lock England England
Gavin Wallis Flanker England England
James Catt Flanker England England
Lee Covington Flanker England England
Richard Pike Flanker England England
Mark Davey Flanker England England
Richard Paddick Flanker England England
Dave Allen Flanker England England
Tom Lawry Flanker England England
Dave Brown Flanker England England
Jabba Hanson Flanker England England
Trueman Sullivan Flanker England England
Gareth Jones Number 8 Wales Wales
David Packer Number 8 England England
Mark Harlow-Singh Number 8 England England
Player Position Union
James Honeyben Scrum-half England England
Ben Ibrahim Scrum-half England England
Jack Walsh Scrum-half England England
Sam Edyman Scrum-half England England
Henry Johnson Scrum-half England England
Luke Baldwin Scrum-half England England
Matthew Leek Fly-half England England
Matt Vaughan Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
Paul Humphries Fly-half England England
Peter Squires Fly-half England England
Mike Staten Centre England England
Steve Hamilton Centre England England
Romain Perret Centre France France
James Denham Centre England England
Jonathan Joseph Centre England England
Richard Lankshear Centre England England
Sean Moan Centre Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
Richard Winsor Centre England England
Henry Staff Centre England England
Ed Doe Wing England England
Dan Caprice Wing England England
Niikolas Van Mol Wing England England
Ovie Koloko Wing England England
James Tyrell Wing England England
Martin Lacey Wing England England
Martin Olima Fullback Ireland Ireland
Jake Smith Fullback England England
Marcus Watson Fullback England England
Ben Ransom Fullback England England


Past players[edit]

See also Category:Blackheath F.C. players

Fictional players[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Richard Holt,Sport and the British: A Modern History, Oxford University Press, 1990 ISBN 0-19-285229-9, p. 86
  3. ^
  4. ^ Blackheath Rugby Official Site
  5. ^ a b Steve Lewis, One Among Equals, 2008, pp9-10 (Vertical Editions:London)

External links[edit]