Gravesend Rugby Football Club
|Full name||Gravesend Rugby Football Club|
|Union||Rugby Football Union|
(as Darenth RFC)
|Location||Gravesend, Kent, England|
|President||Michael A Cubitt|
|League(s)||London 2 South East|
Gravesend Rugby Football Club is an English rugby union team based in Gravesend, Kent, that competes in the London 2 South East league. The teams home ground is the Rectory Field, Donald Biggs Drive, Gravesend, United Kingdom, DA12 2TL.
The multi-sport facility at the Rectory Field, includes cricket, bowls, tennis, hockey, pigeon fanciers, table tennis, Wheelchair Rugby League, Wheelchair Rugby 7's and pétanque. The latter facilities with seventeen international size pistes and with a width reduction to 3 metres can accommodate 48 teams. The club has a thriving mini and youth sections and also operates a women's rugby union team nick-named the Gremlins.
Gravesend Rugby Football Club was founded in 1921, originally known as Darenth RFC and played regularly in Dartford until the end of the 1929-30 season. In 1931, a number of players from the recently disbanded Gravesend United Banks RFC (founded in or around 1927 and broadly composed of members of the local Banks and friends) joined Darenth RFC. The addition of players from the old Gravesend United Banks side enabled Darenth RFC to field three teams for the 1931-32 season. The first team continuing to play home games at the Brent, Dartford and the "A" and "B" teams playing their home games at the old Gravesend United Banks RFC ground in Kings Farm, Gravesend.
In 1932-33 Darenth RFC's headquarters were moved to a new ground near Gravesend (MacLean's Meadows, Westcourt Farm, Chalk) and the team was renamed as Darenth (Gravesend) RFC. Through the good work of Ivor Greenhalgh, who sent a monthly bulletin during the Second World War to members all over the world, the club was very quickly on its feet again when the Second World War was formally ended.
In the 1945-46 season the name was again changed, becoming Gravesend (Darenth) RFC. Ahead of the 1946-47 season the (Darenth) was dropped to give the current name of Gravesend RFC. Gravesend RFC has relocated its home ground several times since playing at MacLean's Meadows, Westcourt Farm, Chalk. In 1946 it moved to the Central Avenue Sports Ground (having been vacated by Gravesend United Football Club) where it played its home games until around 1975.
Between 1975 and 1980 Gravesend RFC played its home games at the Springhead Recreation Ground in Northfleet, before finally moving to its current ground in 1980 at the Rectory Field, Milton Road in Gravesend.
Recent league & cup history
In the 2009-10 season Gravesend RFC secured a league and cup double by winning the London 1 South title and the Kent Cup for just the second time.
The 2010-11 season saw the club make their debut in National League 3 London & SE finishing a respectable 6th. This is currently the highest level attained and only four leagues below the Aviva Premiership. They were also successful in retaining the Kent Cup, beating Tonbridge Juddians in a close fought final.
During a match against Maidstone FC on 17 January 2010, a Maidstone player allegedly gouged Gravesend player, Clarence Harding. After a Rugby Football Union hearing on 12 January 2011, the Maidstone club were fined £2,000 and found guilty of "conduct prejudicial to the interests of the game". Maidstone were also docked 50 points, and while the hearing judged the gouging was a deliberate action, they were unable to identify the guilty player. The RFU's decision was accepted by the Maidstone club.
In the 2012-13 season, Gravesend were relegated from the National Leagues, but completed yet another league and cup double in 2013-14 beating Blackheath in the county final and promotion back to National League 3 London & SE. The team also saw players in the victorious Kent team who won the County Plate at Twickenham Stadium.
- Kent Cup winners (4): 1990, 2010, 2011, 2014
- Kent Shield winners: 2019
- Kent Plate winners (2): 1994, 1998
List of former players who have gone onto represent professional clubs (either union or league).
List of former players who have gone onto represent national teams.
- Nsa Harrison. Nigeria national rugby union team
- Tiwaloluwa Obisesan. Nigeria national rugby union team
- Temitope Okenla. Nigeria national rugby union team
- Chukwuma Osazuwa. Nigeria national rugby union team
- Jonathan Feldman. Israel national rugby union team
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