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Pitchero Club

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Club History

Cambridge RUFC was formed in 1923 and was settled in its current ground by the 1950s. In 1993 the Club was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to buy the lease on its existing three pitches and to buy adjoining land for a further three pitches from King's College. Floodlights were added to one of these pitches in 2003 so that evening games might be played and the light available for training was improved beyond recognition.

A number of our players, we are proud to report, have gone on to gain International Rugby honours, being Dickie Jeeps (England and British Lions), Andy Hancock (England), Bob Steven (Scotland), Trevor Evans (Wales) and Alex Goode (England) who played all of his junior rugby at Grantchester Road.

Cambridge RUFC joined the newly formed league structure in 1988 and by 1991 was playing in London 3 North East Division. After five years in this division, the Club was promoted to London 2 North and at the end of the 1998/99 season to London 1, which feeds into the National Leagues. In the Club's first season in London 1, they achieved 4th place, plus a run to the semi-final of the NPI Cup, falling just one match from Twickenham, after defeat away at Hull by 21-17. London 1 status was secured again for the 2001/2 Season, but player attrition and an ageing squad led to relegation at the end of that season. However, the club's appetite for higher level rugby had been whetted and by the end of the 2003/4 season, a rebuilt side was second to an all-conquering London Scottish team in London 2 North and won an exciting play-off against Barnes 21-19 to regain promotion to London 1. Cambridge also won the Eastern Counties Cup for the first time and regained the Cambridgeshire Cup from perennial rivals Shelford. This time, the stay in London 1 was to be even shorter; at the end of an exciting season the League championship lay between Worthing and Cambridge at the start of the final round of matches: Worthing at home to Canterbury and Cambridge at home to Basingstoke. The championship would go to the team achieving the greatest points difference. In the event, Cambridge won by 96 - 15 and Worthing were condemned to the play-offs. Cambridge went on to beat Norwich in the Eastern Counties Cup Final and Shelford in the Cambridgeshire Cup Final - the second successive Treble and promotion to National League rugby for the first time.

The visit to National 3 South was to be no longer than that to London 1, In April 2006, for the third consecutive season Cambridge were promoted at the end of the first season under player-coach, James Shanahan. The County and Eastern Counties Cups were once again secured to hail a unique Triple Treble of Cup, Cup and Promotion in three successive years.

In seasons 2006/7 and 2007/8 James Shanahan continued to build his team with a mixture of home-grown players and imported talent. 2006-7 was a learning season for the club in National League 2, but it was February 2007 before Cambridge won away from home that season and even then there was to be only one further win away from Wests Renault Park before the end of the season. However, consistent home form (10 wins from 13 starts) ensured that National 2 Rugby was to continue finishing 9th in the League.

2007/8 opened in the perfect way; an away win 15-8 against hotly tipped Henley. However, it was to be February again before the second away win of the season at Waterloo and only one more before the end of the season. 6th place was achieved by a fearsome home record in which they only conceded defeat twice, to League Champions Otley and to third place promotion contenders Stourbridge.

2008/9 began with a narrow squeak at home against Stourbridge and a comfortable away win at Westcombe Park. Then came Birmingham & Solihull on their first visit to Cambridge and just relegated into our league; they came with a high repute as promotion candidates and the only full-time side in National 2. For the first 20 minutes Cambridge played like rabbits caught in the headlights and Birmingham were 22 - 0 up. Then after 32 minutes Archer scored a try and Cambridge began to claw their way back; eventually they lost 29 - 33 leaving the home followers wondering what might have been. There followed a sequence of four more wins, only to go to Waterloo at the end of October to surrender to the side then anchored to the bottom of the league without a win to their name; two more losses, away to Tyndale and at home to Launceston saw CRUFC's ambition severely punctured; however the players, bolstered by the return of Karl Rudski and Matt Miles from long-term injuries, had other ideas. 29 November saw our first ever Cornish victory at Redruth in a pulsating game in which Ben Patston kicked a 50m penalty only to be followed by a 55m drop goal by Ben Patston. Cambridge scraped home by 18 - 19. This game saw the start of a run of 15 league games without defeat, culminating in a fine display in Birmingham to defeat the already crowned champions by 45 - 29. The final League table had Birmingham on 111 points and Cambridge 3 adrift on 108. In most seasons, 108 would have won the league and promotion. In most seasons it would still have won promotion as runners-up. However, the RFU had other ideas and only 1 spot was available which went to our rivals. A run in the Cup which ended in a narrow defeat in the 5th Round at the Old Deer Park to London Welsh by 23 - 22 added to the feeling that this team deserved more. At last the Away game hoodoo seemed to be in the past - the four defeats were split between home and away - and the team played quality and exciting rugby every week. The end of the season saw the departure of two of the most consistent players (Luke Fielden and Mike Guess) to try their chances at Bedford. It was sad particularly to see Luke leave as he had been at Cambridge since he joined as a Mini, but every player must take his opportunity at the highest level he can achieve and we wish them both well.

Mini and Youth Rugby was started at Cambridge in January 1975, the first club in the Eastern Counties to take up this new and exciting challenge. From the initial 60 boys who turned out on that first morning, it rapidly expanded to over 350 players in 12 age groups, a participation level which is maintained to this day. The basis of the coaching is built upon ex-players, and parents with regular input from current first team players and coaches. This involvement of a new population of rugby enthusiasts has not only fed players through, but also provided stability and personnel to the club committees at all levels; 2 recent Club Chairmen and a Club President have come from the ranks of the Mini & Youth parents. During the past 30+ years, countless players who cut their rugby teeth at Grantchester Road have gone on to play for senior clubs throughout the world, and we are proud that our own National Squad includes several players who started in our Mini and Youth Section

Off the field, 2005 saw a brand new clubhouse rise above the old to accommodate our growing support and rising sponsorship; two years on and a 200 seat grandstand was added to the front of the clubhouse to give one of the most attractive rugby venues in the National Leagues.

We have made many friends since our arrival in the National Leagues. An ever growing band of stalwarts tour the country from deepest Cornwall to farthest Northumberland pursuing the team, whilst we are particularly proud that our home supporters continue to ensure that there is never a spare seat for the pre-match lunches where we always seat 180 and often extend these numbers into the Vice Presidents lounge. The gates for home games continue to expand as more and more people in the region come to experience the pleasure of following a successful team.

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