Torquay Athletic RFC

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Torquay Athletic
Full nameTorquay Athletic Rugby Football Club
UnionDevon RFU
Nickname(s)Tics
Founded1875; 144 years ago (1875)
LocationTorquay, Devon, England
Ground(s)Recreation Ground (Capacity: 3,000 (300 seats))
ChairmanChris Edwards
PresidentCharlie Wakeham
Coach(es)James Wood
League(s)Tribute Cornwall/Devon
2017-18Relegated from Tribute Western Counties West (13th)
Team kit
Official website
www.pitchero.com/clubs/torquayathleticrugbyfootballclub

Torquay Athletic RFC is an English rugby union team formed in 1875 that is based in Torquay, Devon. The club operates 5 senior men's teams as well as youth and mini teams, with the men's first team currently playing in Tribute Cornwall/Devon following their relegation from Tribute Western Counties West at the end of the 2017-18 season. Nicknamed the "Tics", the first team's kit is black and white hoops and they play home games at the Recreation Ground.[1] They have a local rivalry with Paignton RFC.

View of the grandstand at the Recreation Ground, home of Torquay Athletic RFC
View from grandstand showing cricket pavilion

History[edit]

Early days[edit]

There is some debate over when Torquay Athletic formed. Although the club uses 1875 as the official date, Ray Batten's book "A History of Torquay Athletic R.F.C." implies that it was not formed until 1886 because the earlier incarnation "The Torquay Athletic and Football Club" was a different organization.[2][3][4] in 1890 the club reached the final of the Devon Senior Cup losing 6-10 to Exeter at the County Ground.[5] Seven years later the club were back in a final, this time in the Devon Junior Cup, with the Athletic reserve side winning the cup.[6] In 1904 Torquay Athletic moved to the Recreation Ground, replacing Torquay United, who had been tenants there for the previous four years.[7] The rugby club have occupied the ground ever since, renting it from Torquay Town Council, and sharing it with the local cricket club, with occasional Devon CCC cricket games also played there. The Recreation Ground itself remains relatively unchanged since it first opened back in the 1870s and remains a great example of the grounds of the period.[8]

With a permanent home in place Torquay Athletic would establish itself as one of the better sides in the county and in 1907 the club won the Devon Senior Cup for the first time in the club's history.[6] Winning the cup, would not however prove to be a catalyst for success, as Athletic would fall behind the dominant sides of the time, Devonport Albion and Plymouth RFC (parent clubs of Plymouth Albion). The club had to wait 63 years for their next senior cup win, eventually reclaiming it for the second time in 1979.[6]

League rugby[edit]

The advent of the national leagues in 1987 saw Torquay Athletic placed in South West Division 1 - division 5 of the English rugby union league system. League rugby was not initially successful for the club as after only two seasons they were relegated to South West 2.[9] They bounced back the following year as they were promoted from South West 2 after claiming the runners up spot.[10] The rest of the nineties was a period of stability for the club as they kept afloat in South West Division 1 and they also reached the final of the Devon Senior Cup in 1998 losing against Tiverton despite having home advantage.[11]

The start of the 21st century proved to be an interesting one for Athletic as they yo-yoed up and down the league system. They suffered two relegation's in three years, first from South West Division 1 at the end of 2001 and then South West 2 West in 2003, to fall to the lowest league position in their history.[12][13] After a bad start to the decade Athletic bounced back, just missing out on promotion by losing the playoff 7-18 away to Gloucester-based side, Spartans in 2004 before winning Western Counties West in 2005-06.[14][15] They also won the Devon Senior Cup for the third time in 2007, defeating Paignton in the final.[16] Success in the cup was not replicated in the league and in 2010 Torquay Athletic were once more relegated.[17] Two years later they came close to promotion after finishing second in Tribute Western Counties West, but were comfortably beaten 7-39 away to another Gloucester based side, Old Centralians.[18]

The 2017-18 season would see Torquay once again suffer the agony of relegation, going down on the last day of the season to drop to level 8 (Tribute Cornwall/Devon) - the lowest level that they have played at since the leagues began.[19]

Ground[edit]

The Recreation Ground is located on Rathmore Road in Torquay, near to the sea front and next to the train station. It consists of a rugby/cricket pitch alongside a Victorian-era grandstand underneath which is the club-house and changing facilities, while a stand-alone cricket pavilion and scoreboard is situated at the opposite end of the ground. Parking is available at the ground.

The ground capacity for both rugby and cricket is around 3,000, most of which is standing, including 300 seats in the grandstand.[20] The grandstand originally had seating for 600 but at present only half of it is used as the other half has fallen into ruin and is unsafe for spectators.

Season summary[edit]

Season League National Cup(s) County Cup(s)
Competition/Level Position Points Competition Performance Competition Performance
1987–88 South West 1 (5)
1988–89 South West 1 (5) (relegated)[21]
1989–90 South West 2 (6) 2nd (promoted)[22]
1990–91 South West 1 (5) Pilkington Cup 1st Round
1991–92 South West 1 (5) Pilkington Cup 1st Round
1992–93 South West 1 (5)
1993–94 South West 1 (6)[a 1]
1994–95 South West 1 (6)
1995–96 South West 1 (6)
1996–97 South West 1 (5)[a 2] 6th[23] 21
1997–98 South West 1 (5) 9th[24] 16 Devon Senior Cup Runners up
1998–99 South West 1 (5) 11th[25][a 3] 9 Tetley's Bitter Cup 1st Round
1999–00 South West 1 (5) 9th[26] 16
2000–01 South West 1 (5) 11th (relegated)[27] 7
2001–02 South West 2 West (6) 10th[28] 14
2002–03 South West 2 West (6) 11th (relegated)[29] 12
2003–04 Western Counties West (7) 2nd (lost playoff)[30] 32 Powergen Intermediate Cup 1st Round[31][32]
2004–05 Western Counties West (7) 4th[33] 26 Powergen Intermediate Cup [34]
2005–06 Western Counties West (7) 1st (promoted)[35] 38 Powergen Trophy 1st Round[36]
2006–07 South West 2 West (6) 3rd[37] 28 EDF Intermediate Cup [38] Devon Senior Cup Winners
2007–08 South West 2 West (6) 4th[39] 26 EDF Energy Trophy 1st Round[40][41]
2008–09 South West 2 West (6) 8th[42] 17 EDF Intermediate Cup [43]
2009–10 South West 1 West (6)[a 4] 12th (relegated)[44] 16
2010–11 Western Counties West (7) 6th[45] 74[a 5] Devon Intermediate Plate Winners
2011–12 Western Counties West (7) 2nd (lost playoff)[46] 93 Devon Intermediate Cup Semi-finals[47]
2012–13 Western Counties West (7) 4th[48] 80 RFU Intermediate Cup 5th Round[49] Devon Senior Cup 1st Round[47]
2013–14 Western Counties West (7) 7th[50] 60 Devon Intermediate Cup 2nd Round[51]
2014–15 Western Counties West (7) 12th[52] 36 Devon Intermediate Cup 1st Round[53]
2015–16 Western Counties West (7) 5th[54] 78 Devon Intermediate Cup 2nd Round[55]
2016–17 Western Counties West (7) 9th[56] 55 RFU Intermediate Cup 4th Round[57]
2017–18 Western Counties West (7) 13th (relegated)[58] 47 Devon Intermediate Cup Semi-finals[59]
2018–19 Cornwall/Devon (8) Devon Intermediate Shield
Green background stands for either league champions (with promotion) or cup winners. Blue background stands for promotion without winning league or losing cup finalists. Pink background stands for relegation.

Honours[edit]

First Team

Second Team

Notable former players[edit]

  • England Chris Bell - Plymouth born Centre who played youth rugby at Athletic before going to forge a career in the Premiership with clubs including Harlequins and Wasps. Also gained youth international caps for England.
  • England Mike Davis - Torquay born Lock who played at Athletic in his youth and went to gain 16 caps for England at lock as well as coaching the national side from 1979 to 1982.
  • England Lee Mears - Torquay born Hooker who started with Torquay Athletic minis before going on to have a successful career with Bath as well as gaining 42 caps for England and 4 caps for the British and Irish Lions.
  • Wales Cecil Pritchard - capped 8 times by Wales in the 1920s. Played part of his career at Torquay and Barnstaple after moving to the south-west from his home country. Died in 1966.
  • Wales Gwyn Richards - fly-half who played for the club in the 1920s after spending much of his early career in his native Wales with the likes of Bridgend RFC and Cardiff RFC. Gained a solitary cap for Wales in 1927 before switching to rugby league. Died in 1985.
  • England John Widdicombe - local lad who went on to play for Newport in Wales as well as being called up by Barbarians. Now forwards coach at the club.

[60]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ RFU restructuring of the English rugby union system for the 1993–94 season due to the creation Courage League Division 5 meant that South West 1 became a tier 6 league.
  2. ^ The cancellation of Courage League Division 5 at the end of the 1995–96 season meant that South West 1 once again became a tier 5 league.
  3. ^ Only one team was relegated from South West 1 at the end of the 1998–99 season, meaning that 11th placed Torquay Athletic were kept safe.
  4. ^ RFU restructuring of the English rugby union system for the 2009–10 season saw South West 2 West renamed as South West 1 West.
  5. ^ The 2010–11 season would see the introduction of bonus points into lower league English rugby union (tier 6 and below).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Torquay Athletic RFC". Torquay Athletic RFC. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Victorian Sports Days / Torquay Athletic". Torquay Fans Forum. 21 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Torquay Athletic R.F.C. 1875-1975 Centenary Booklet". Torquay Athletic RFC. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  4. ^ "A history of Torquay Athletic R.F.C." Raymond C Batten. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  5. ^ "18th Season 1889-90" (PDF). Exeter Chiefs Supporters Club. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "DRFU Handbook 2011-12" (PDF). Devon RFU. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  7. ^ "History of Torquay United FC". BBC Devon. 16 October 2009.
  8. ^ "Torquay Athletic The Recreation Ground". Tims 92. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  9. ^ Williams, Tony; Mitchell, Bill (eds.). Courage Official Rugby Union Club Directory 1991–92 (4th ed.). Taunton: Football Directories. ISBN 1 869833 15 5.
  10. ^ Tony Williams and Bill Mitchell, ed. (1990). Courage Clubs Championship. Official Rugby Union Club Directory 1990–91. Horsham: Burlington Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 1873057024.
  11. ^ Wevill, Richard (23 April 2013). "Rugby club reflecting on two glorious moments". Mid Devon Gazette. Archived from the original on 7 February 2017. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  12. ^ Mc Cormack, Stephen (2001). The Official RFU Club Directory 2001–2002 (14th ed.). Harpender: Queen Anne Press. pp. 624–630. ISBN 1 85291 640 0.
  13. ^ "South West 2 West 2002–2003". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  14. ^ "South West Play-Offs". England Rugby. 24 April 2004.
  15. ^ "Final League Tables, 2005–2006". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  16. ^ "Cup final scorer Channing back at Torquay". Torquay Herald Express. 26 November 2008.
  17. ^ "Tribute South West 1 West 2009–2010". England Rugby. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Dorling upbeat despite play-off loss". Torquay Herald Express. 3 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Tribute Western Counties West 2017–2018". England Rugby. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  20. ^ "Recreation Ground". ESPN Cric Info. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  21. ^ Williams, Tony; Mitchell, Bill (eds.). Courage Official Rugby Union Club Directory 1991–92 (4th ed.). Taunton: Football Directories. ISBN 1 869833 15 5.
  22. ^ Tony Williams and Bill Mitchell, ed. (1990). Courage Clubs Championship. Official Rugby Union Club Directory 1990–91. Horsham: Burlington Publishing Co Ltd. ISBN 1873057024.
  23. ^ "Final League Tables, 1996–97". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 2 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Final League Tables 1997–98". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  25. ^ "South West 1 1998–1999". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  26. ^ "South West 1 1999–2000". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  27. ^ "South West 1 2000–2001". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  28. ^ "South West 2 West 2001–2002". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  29. ^ "South West 2 West 2002–2003". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  30. ^ "Final League Tables 2003–2004". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  31. ^ "POWERGEN COMPETITIONS". Gloucester Rugby. 14 July 2003.
  32. ^ "Brave effort, but cup run over for Camborne". South West Farmer. 22 January 2004.
  33. ^ "Final League Tables 2004–2005". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  34. ^ "Away days for Swindon sides". The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald. 24 September 2004.
  35. ^ "Final League Tables, 2005–2006". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  36. ^ "Powergen Trophy Results So Far". Rugby Network. 18 October 2005.
  37. ^ "South West 2 West 2006–2007". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  38. ^ "Swindon face trip to Devon". The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald. 21 September 2006.
  39. ^ "South West 2 West 2007–2008". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  40. ^ "EDF Energy National Trophy round 1 draw announced". Rolling Maul. 10 December 2007.
  41. ^ "Borough to face one of Britain's most famous clubs". Peterborough Telegraph. 15 October 2007.
  42. ^ "South West 2 West 2008–2009". England Rugby. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  43. ^ "All EDF Cup/Vase SW Fixtures". South West Rugby. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  44. ^ "Tribute South West 1 West 2009–2010". England Rugby. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  45. ^ "Final League Tables, 2010–2011". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  46. ^ "Final League Tables 2011–2012". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  47. ^ a b "Devon RFU Handbook 2012–13" (PDF). Devon RFU. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  48. ^ "Final League Tables 2012–2013". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  49. ^ "South West Division Cups". England Rugby. 22 December 2012.
  50. ^ "Final League Tables, 2013–2014". Trelawny's Army. Retrieved 1 September 2014.
  51. ^ "Cup winners round 1". Torquay Athletic RFC (Pitchero). 16 November 2013.
  52. ^ "Tribute Western Counties West 2014–2015". England Rugby. Retrieved 1 September 2015.
  53. ^ "The Devon Intermediate Cup Results 2014-15". Devon RFU. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  54. ^ "Tribute Western Counties West 2015–2016". England Rugby. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  55. ^ "Devon Intermediate Cup 2015/16 results". Devon RFU. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  56. ^ "Tribute Western Counties West 2016–2017". England Rugby. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  57. ^ "South West Division Cups". England Rugby. 4 February 2017.
  58. ^ "Tribute Western Counties West 2017–2018". England Rugby. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  59. ^ "2017/18 Devon Intermediate Cup/Shield". Devon RFU. Retrieved 14 November 2018.
  60. ^ "Club History". Torquay Athletic RFC. Retrieved 6 February 2017.

External links[edit]