Wed 14 Aug 2019 13:58

Wells RFC History

Wells Rugby Football Club was founded at a Dinner held at The Star Hotel on 12 October 1876. The first match was against Yeovil on 9 November and the Wells team captained by E M Hippesley was won with six unconverted tries to nil. Having said that, there is some evidence to show that a club was going some four years before 1876 as records show that a certain H Freeman from Wells and Marlborough was capped by England three times between 1872 and 1874 and also a Mr F B G D'Aguiliar who played for Wells occasionally played for England in 1872.

Since those early days the club have moved grounds on many occasions from such diverse places such as, Gallows Close, Knapp Hill, East Horrington, the Bath & West Show Ground, Sheldons and since 1983, the present ground in Charter Way.

During the club's existence its playing history has also been chequered, indeed at times the club ceased to exist, but has always come back in some form, or other. For instance in 1947 when the club merged with Shepton Mallet, the name was changed to Mendip only reverting back to Wells in 1965. Just a few years earlier in 1959 the club colours of Black and White hooped shirts were adopted. It was also in the fifties when Alec Lewis who had ten England caps joined the club as player coach. Up until a few years ago, Alec, who became an England selector and managed a tour to South Africa, regularly came to the club. He now however lives In South Africa, although the badge from his England blazer and his tie have been framed and adorn the clubhouse.

The club's current President, Richard Draper started his playing days in the fifties, Former Chairman, Tony D'Ovidio, Membership Secretary, Derek Sprague and a then young, Paul Western all played in the sixties. League rugby started in 1988/89 season and in 1991/92 Wells were Somerset Division 2 champions. Since then it has a been a bit of a rollercoaster, but in this the 2008/09 season Wells will start their third consecutive season in the Somerset Premier Division. The second and third teams also play in the Somerset Leagues, whilst last season the Colts team took part in the Bristol & District Combination Colts League. Surely however the highlight of modern times was the winning of The Somerset Vase in 2008. In two superb displays of attacking rugby Wells firstly dispatched Winscombe 48-7 in the semi final and then in front of a large enthusiastic crowd at Weston-Super-Mare beat Avon 56-18 in the final to lift the trophy.

Another historic date in the club's history, September 1992, a collection of keen parents under the direction of Paul Hole got together and started training sessions for juniors and minis. Help came from many different directions, kit, not only from the club, but Mendip District Council and various private sponsors. One must forget Somerset RFU who trained the first coaches. From those early days the Youth Section as it is now called has gone from strength to strength. Indeed look at any of the senior sides, virtually stacked with players who have come up from the minis. From the first mini tour to South Devon teams now go to Ireland, France, Spain and Italy to name a few. It often seems that as many parents go as players, but without them to look after matters these trips could not go ahead.

What does the future hold. Well as anybody in business will tell you, to keep the status quo is to go backwards. The club is hoping to develop and expand, especially the playing areas, also the clubhouse needs to expand and update the changing facilities. However this all needs money, which the club has to earn one way or the other. The current committee are working hard to improve the facilities, bearing in mind of course that the main object of the club is to promote the great game of rugby in and around Wells for years to come.

In the 2011 - 2012 season the senior side had its best season in the clubs history culminating winning the National Senior Vase competion at Twickenham in May. Wells entered the South west stage winning two difficult away matches at Drybrook and Hayle. They then beat Drifters in Southern Counties final before travelling to Maidstone for the National Semi final. A titanic struggle that went to the final whistle saw them earn the place at Twickenham playing Wath Upon Dearne from Yorkshire. A superb 50 mins saw the city side build a 28 - 3 lead before Wath staged a comeback that left the final score 31 - 23 to Wells. Wells priority for the season was to win promotion which they achieved the week before the cup final beating Drybrook in the play off decider at Charterway. Wells will now play in Western Counties North for the first time in its history.

If you feel that you have a contribution to make on, or off the field, come and join us, we are a friendly bunch!

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