This week we look at one of our new Partner Clubs, Westcombe Park RFC. A big club that plays out of Orpington, Kent, Westcombe Park think one of their unique features which makes them different from any other clubs is the fact that they were founded by someone who never could and never would play rugby themselves. In 1904 Dudley E Roughton who was disabled and needed a crutch to walk decided he wanted to form his own team as he was a rugby fanatic!
Back in those days the players used to change behind the bushes near the field and some of the problems most clubs face with the hot water bring back memories of how uncomfortable those days used to be!
The club has gone through good and bad times and is, like all grassroots clubs, heavily dependent on the membership numbers each year. That said, the club is thriving and now work alongside sides playing cricket, football and tennis. It really is a rugby club managed by rugby people which is great to see and the club now have 5 pitches, a stand, a gym, 3 football pitches, 2 cricket squares and 6 tennis courts.
Their season so far….
Playing in National Division 3, the club have had a pretty good season so far. They have had some great wins over clubs like Wimbledon RFC who are coached by Harlequins pair Nick Easter and Nick Evans and have defeated Bracknell, East Grinstead, Gravesend, Eton Manor and Westcliff on the road. The 1st XV are currently in 3rd position in the league and are trailing close behind leaders London Irish Wild Geese and Tonbridge Juddian.
Not only do the club field a successful 1st XV but there is a packed house at senior level. Westcombe Park can regularly field an Extra 1st XV, a 3rd XV as well as a 4th XV while the Vets/Gents, as in most clubs, have a more leisurely fixture list. The junior sections of the club have always been in good shape. E4R Director Tom May can remember playing against Westcombe Park way back……
“They were always one of the strong teams we came up against and a few of my friends played for them even though we were at the same school. It became known as a tough fixture but one that we always looked forward to. We were always looked after very well and I remember thinking if there was another club I would like to play at it would be Westcombe Park. It might have had something to do with the fact that they won quite a lot of the time!”
We are proud to be working with Westcombe Park, a club with so much history and we look forward to helping develop a club that is clearly so forward thinking and open to new ideas and ways of thinking. We are especially pleased to see them hold a presentation evening on Anti-Doping in rugby. There has been much said about the level of steroid and banned substance abuse in the game and great to see a club like Westcombe Park taking steps to make sure that it gives clear guidelines on what is acceptable and what isn’t. Stephen Watkins from the RFU went to the club to give a fascinating talk on a controversial and high profile subject.