Hartlepool Rovers

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Hartlepool Rovers
Full nameHartlepool Rovers Football Club
UnionDurham County RFU
Founded1879; 140 years ago (1879)
LocationHartlepool, County Durham, England
Ground(s)New Friarage
ChairmanMoira Bowden
Coach(es)Steve Smith
Captain(s)Callum Whitehead
League(s)Durham/Northumberland 1
Team kit
Official website

Hartlepool Rovers are a rugby union club who play at The New Friarage, West View Road in Hartlepool. The club play in Durham/Northumberland 1, the seventh tier of the English rugby union system after being relegated from North One East at the end of the 2010–11 season. Steve Smith is the club's player-coach and Callum Whitehead its captain. Rovers have a thriving junior section including boys’ and girls’ teams. Hartlepool Rovers also have a thriving and successful women's team, with Rovers Ladies having just completed their first league campaign in the Women's NC North 2 East. They are by far the most successful club in local cup rugby, having won the Durham Senior Cup a record 45 times.


Hartlepool Rovers was formed in 1879 and played at the Old Friarage in the Headland area of Hartlepool, before moving to West View Road. In the 1890s Rovers supplied numerous county, divisional and international players. The club itself hosted many high profile matches including the inaugural Barbarians match, the New Zealand Maoris and the legendary All Blacks who played against a combined Hartlepool Club team. In the 1911-12 season, Hartlepool Rovers broke the world record for the number of points scored in a season racking up 860 points including 122 tries, 87 conversions, five penalties and eleven drop goals.

The club's most famous player was R F (Bob) Oakes, who died in 1952. He also played for Headingley and was president of the Yorkshire Rugby Football Union and president of the Rugby Football Union. Oakes is remembered every year by the R F Oakes Memorial Match, followed by a dinner for the players taking part. Players such as Will Carling Tony Ward (rugby union), Jim Glennon and John Robbie, have played in the game. Over the years the 'Oakes game' has become a prestigious match for players, reaching its heyday in the late-1970s and 1980s under the supervision of the then club Chairman Tony Lowe.

Hartlepool Rovers were the team responsible for making the four, three-quarters formation popular amongst clubs, a formation which later became accepted as a standard.

Notable past players[edit]

Club Honours[edit]

  • Durham Senior Cup winners (45): 1884, 1887, 1889, 1890, 1891, 1894, 1896, 1897, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1930, 1935, 1947, 1948, 1954, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1987, 1990, 1992
  • Durham/Northumberland 1 champions (2): 2003-04, 2008-09


  • Goodwin, Terry Complete Who's Who of International Rugby (Cassell, 1987, ISBN 0-7137-1838-2)
  1. ^ Godwin, p23
  2. ^ ""Rugby Football." Times, 30 Mar. 1914, p. 14". Times Digital Archives.
  3. ^ Godwin, p116
  4. ^ Godwin, p445

Coordinates: 54°42′20″N 1°12′40″W / 54.70556°N 1.21111°W / 54.70556; -1.21111