Camborne RFC

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Camborne RFC
Full name Camborne Rugby Football Club
Union Cornwall RFU
Founded 1878; 140 years ago (1878)
Location Camborne, Cornwall, England
Ground(s) Recreation Ground (Capacity: 9,000 (1,700 seated))
Chairman Andy Gill
President Jason Mitchell
Coach(es) Liam Chapple
League(s) South West Premier
2016–17 3rd
Team kit
Official website

Camborne RFC was established in 1878, and are one of the most famous rugby union clubs in Cornwall. They currently play in South West Premier following promotion from Tribute South West 1 West in 2015–16; a level five league in the English rugby union system. When the rugby union leagues were introduced in 1987, Camborne was the highest placed Cornish team and played in Area 4 South. They are also one of the most successful club sides in Cornwall having won the Cornish Cup ten times as of 2016 – level with local rivals Redruth – following a record fourth title in a row in 2016.[1]


Many original players were involved in the local tin mining industry especially at Camborne's Dolcoath mine which at that time was the deepest mine in Britain, and many were employed at the local machine tool manufacturer at Holman Brothers producing mining equipment. The first Camborne RFC game was played against Penzance in front of some 600 spectators in November 1877. At the start of the 1880–81 season the ground was a field near Camborne Consols (described as an ″old mine″), adjoining Holman Brothers' stone yard.[2]

In 1909–10 Camborne was the top Cornish team and in the following season no Cornish side managed to score a try against "Town" as they were then known. When the tin mining recession hit Cornwall in the late 19th-century many Camborne men and their successors were forced to emigrate to places such as South Africa, Australia and North and South America and along with their mining skills they also helped establish the game of rugby in these areas.

After the First World War in the early 1920s, rugby established a huge following in Camborne. Teams would change at a local hotel and march to the ground behind the Town band. In 1924 a crowd of 19,000 people gathered at Camborne to watch Cornwall, with no less than seven Camborne players, take on the New Zealand All Blacks, and matches against local rivals, Redruth, invariably pulled in crowds of around 6,000. Captain Crawshays Welsh Touring XV started to include Camborne on their fixture list in 1923. Crawshays teams were chosen from the leading clubs in Wales, and consisted of seasoned internationals and up and coming players who would usually go on to be internationals. In 1926–27, Camborne, also known as the Cherry and Whites were the top club in Cornwall and had their first win over a Crawshay side.

With the end of the Second World War the club was back in business and John Collins made his debut for the reserves team in 1946–47 and was selected to play at full back for England in 1952. The 1950s and 60's saw many more successful teams, and Camborne became the first Cornish side in 1968 to beat Ebbw Vale in eighteen Cornish tours.

The team became the most consistent and successful side in Cornwall in the 1970s, winning the Cornish league and cup in 1977–78, the league for the next four years running until 1982, again league champions 84–85 and 85–86, were the highest placed Cornish national league club 87–88 and 88–89, and achieved further Cornwall Cup wins in 1985, 1987, 1990 and 1992. Giant lock Andy Reed joined the Cherry and Whites in 1987, who was later to play for the all-conquering Bath Rugby team of the nineties and represent Scotland and the British and Irish Lions. In 1989 Cornwall reached the final of the County Championship at Twickenham against Durham and were represented by nine Camborne players out of the twenty-one man squad.

More recently youth development products Josh Matavesi and younger brother Sam have gone on to represent Fiji at International level. They are the sons of Camborne and Cornwall legend Serelli Matavesi.

The Recreation Ground[edit]

Camborne is one of the grounds used by the Cornish rugby team and has hosted many notable international sides including the New Zealand All Blacks in 1905, 1924 and 1953, Australia in 1908, 1947 and 1967, South Africa 1960, United States 1977 and numerous other touring sides such as the South African Barbarians and Canterbury (NZ). In 2006 it was agreed to ground share the Recreation Ground with RFU Championship team the Cornish Pirates and the ground has undergone major refurbishment including a new stand for the 2007–8 season.[3] This arrangement has now ceased and the Pirates have returned to play at the Mennaye in Penzance.


  • Cornwall League/Merit Table champions (10): 1909–10, 1910–11, 1926–27, 1977–78, 1978–79, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1984–85, 1985–86
  • Cornwall Cup winners (10): 1977–78, 1984–85, 1986–87, 1989–90, 1991–92, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014-15, 2015-16
  • Western Counties West champions (2): 2003–04, 2009–10
  • Tribute South West 1 West champions: 2015–16
  • Cornwall Super Cup winners: 2016–17


Notable former players[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Camborne overpower Penryn to make history with fourth Tribute Cornwall Cup win in a row". Western Morning News. 2 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Camborne Football Club". The Cornishman (119). 21 October 1880. p. 7. 
  3. ^ Pirates to groundshare at Camborne RFC[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Camborne RFC: Honours 1". Pitchero. 22 March 2015. 
  5. ^ Salmon, Tom (1983). The First Hundred Years. Illogan: Cornwall RFU. pp. 126–8. ISBN 0946664 01 3. 

External links[edit]