- Plymouth R.L.F.C
Plymouth Rugby League Football Club is the leading
rugby leagueclub in Plymouth.
The Club is a member of the co-operative Rugby League Conference, playing home matches at King George V Playing Fields, Elburton, Plymouth.
The Club fields two teams, Plymouth Titans in the RLC South West Division and Stonehouse Stallions in the Devon County Rugby League Challenge Cup.
Plymouth RLFC is sponsored by Walkabout, 5 Union Street, Plymouth.
Plymouth RLFC is the latest in a number of incarnations of a
rugby leagueclub in Plymouth. The first attempt at forming a club was in the Northern Union days of 1912 when in a dispute over inducements to players, attempts were made to form a Western League of clubs in Devon and Cornwall. Huddersfield beat Oldham 31-26 in an exhibition game at South Devon Place (the home of Plymouth RFC) before 8000 spectators and as a result a meeting was held and the Plymouth Northern Union Club formed. In July, the NU club took over South Devon Place and as a result the ailing Plymouth RFC disbanded, later to re-emerge as part of a merger with Devonport Albion to become Plymouth Albion.
At Christmas Coventry NU beat Plymouth twice before a number of games were played against local opposition in the new year including Newton Abbot, Teignmouth, Torquay and Paignton (plus a 27-17 defeat at the hands of St. Helens at their home ground South Devon Place (now Astor Field) on Embankment Road. An international was staged at South Devon Place with a crowd of 7000 witnessing England's victory over Wales 40-16 on February 15th 1913 (a Wales and West side had beaten England 27-25 at
Home Parkon September 10th 1910 following the return of the Northern Union tourists from Australasia) and Devon clubs hosted a touring Northern Union Combination which Plymouth thrashed 33-3 but the club along with the league folded during the summer of 1913 due to Plymouth losing the lease at South Devon Place (which was bought by the Astor family and given to the people of Plymouth as Astor Field) and Torquay were refused permission to share the Recreation Ground with Torquay Athletic RFC.
The majority of players returned to Union though some moved North to continue their 13 a side careers with Willie Davies and Dave Holland representing the Northern Union (now Great Britain) on the 1914 tour of Australia and New Zealand. Another well known figure from that era was
James Peterswho was the first black player to represent England at Rugby Union before playing league for Plymouth and then moving on to play for Barrow. Peters was recently the subject of an exhibition at Twickenham.
No Rugby League was played in the area for another forty-four years until Leigh and Barrow toured Devon in 1947 and later Hull and
Hull Kingston Roversplayed three games in Cornwall during the summer of 1962.
In 1985, following the formation of the Cheltenham club the previous year, another club was formed in Plymouth following an inquiry by Lionel Hurst, the instigator of what as to become the Midlands and south West Amateur Rugby League Association (MASWARLA). The first game was played at Pittville Park, Cheltenham on Sunday May 12th 1985. Plymouth trailed 22-2 at half time but rallied to win 30-26 and enough interest was shown to enter the MASWARLA League for the 1985/6 season. The club remained in the league until 1992 as first Plymouth-Tamarside and latterly Plymouth City. Problems with teams travelling down for games and the final disbanding of the MASWARLA League left the club out on a limb and the club disbanded due to lack of fixtures.
The following year, plans were made for a local competition and in December 1993 a four team league began with West Park Warriors, Stonehouse Saints, Devonport Pirates and the St.Budeaux Bulldogs competing for the Plymouth and District League, eventually won by Stonehouse and the League played hosts to Wigan St. Judes and Wigan Tech at the end of the season. Unfortunately, the momentum was lost the following season and the League collapsed.
Apart from a couple of visits by
Wigan St. Judesplaying against scratch sides at the end of the Rugby Union season ther was little activity in the area until a group of friends advertised on the RLFans.com website in 2001 aiming to form a club to join the Rugby League Conference. The Plymouth Rock RLFC never really caught on and after failing to attract sponsorship and players the club failed. However a number of the group along with Ray Pickavance from St.Helens revived the idea in 2003. After a flurry of emails and telephone conversations the club had its first meeting at the Fortescue pub on Mutley Plain. Numbers grew and the club - now based at the new Stonehouse Creek Leisure and Social Club on Stonehouse Creek - played its first games at the Forty-twenty.co.uk Bristol and West 9s on May 16th 2004. Despite losing three of their games and drawing the other the club had given a taste of the game to a number of new players and the first full 13-a-side game was played away to Blandford Bulldogs in Dorset on July 3rd 2004 with a return game on the Creek on August 15th. Despite losing both games interest was maintained and the club successfully applied for membership of the TotalRL.com Rugby League Conference in January 2005.
Despite early setbacks and a number of changes in personnel, the club completed a relatively successful year with a nailbiting defeat to St.Ives Roosters in the Semi Final of the RLC Shield 34-32 at Hemel Hempstead after finishing fourth of five in the South West Division.
2006 saw Plymouth finish third in the South West and West Midlands division before losing narrowly to
Burntwood Barbariansin the play-offs.
For 2007, a new South West Division of the Rugby League Conference was created with new clubs in East Devon Eagles (Exmouth), Devon Sharks (Newton Abbot) and Exeter Centurions joining Plymouth (who added the suffix "Titans") and Somerset Vikings "A".
The season started with the "co-operative South West Nines" at Taunton which the Titans won - beating the East Devon Eagles 8-6 in the final. The club was forced to leave their home ground of Stonehouse Creek after playing their opening two games due to proposed re-surfacing of the pitches and transferred to King George V Playing Fields at Elburton for the remainder of the season.
2007 was Plymouth RLFC's most successful yet with nine wins out of ten in the League, a 96-0 win in the South West Grand Final against the Devon Sharks and only narrowly losing to the Bedford Tigers in the RLC Semi Final at Bristol. The Titans suffered just three defeats, the semi final reverse to Bedford and two defeats at the hands of the East Devon Eagles who won a Friday night thriller at the KGV 37-36 and 40-34 in the barnesplumbing.co.uk Devon Cup Final at Exmouth.
In addition, a second team - the Stonehouse Stallions - was formed and played in the barnesplumbing.co.uk Devon Cup, losing all four games.
2004 May 16 - Aretians (Bristol 9s)Lost 24-28
May 16 - Bristol Sonics (Bristol 9s) Lost 4-18
May 16 - Coventry Bears (Bristol 9s) Lost 10-34
May 16 - Blandford Bulldogs (Bristol 9s) Drew 20-20
July 3 - Blandford Bulldogs (A) Lost 16-48
Aug 15 - Blandford Bulldogs (H) Lost 30-38 2005 May 14 - Oxford Cavaliers (H) Won 52-18
May 21 - Gloucestershire Warriors (A) Lost 8-48
May 28 - Somerset Vikings (H) Lost 10-34
June 11 - Bristol Sonics (A) Lost 32-52
June 18 - Oxford Cavaliers (A) Won 52-44
June 25 - Gloucestershire Warriors (H) Lost 10-36
July 16 - Somerset Vikings (A) Lost 24-42
Aug 13 - Redditch Ravens (A) (RLC Quarter Final) Won 32-6
Aug 20 - St.Ives Roosters (Hemel) (RLC Shield Semi Final) Lost 32-34
Apr 5 - Royal Armoured Corps (H) Lost 22-59
May 6 - Somerset Vikings (A) Lost 4-72
May 13 - Bristol Sonics (H) Won 36-34
May 27 - Oxford Cavaliers (A) Won 44-22
June 10 - Gloucestershire Warriors (A) Lost 10-74
June 17 - Redditch Ravens (H) Won 90-0
June 21 - HMS Drake XIII (H) Won 52-22
June 24 - Burntwood Barbarians (A) Lost 28-52
July 1 - Somerset Vikings (H) Lost 22-30
July 8 - Bristol Sonics (A) Won 38-28
July 15 - Gloucestershire Warriors (H) Won 26-16
July 22 - Burntwood Barbarians (H) (RLC SW Minor Semi ) Lost 22-24
Apr 11 - Somerset Vikings (Taunton)(SW 9s) Won 14-0
Apr 11 - Devon Sharks (SW 9s) Won 22-0
Apr 11 - Somerset Vikings (SW 9s) Won 14-0
Apr 11 - East Devon Eagles (SW 9s Final) Won 8-6
May 12 - Exeter Centurions (H) Won 78-6
May 16 - Stonehouse Stallions (A) Won 46-12
May 26 - Devon Sharks (A) Won 38-28
June 1 - East Devon Eagles (H) Lost 36-37
June 9 - Somerset Vikings 'A' (A) Won 90-16
June 13 - East Devon Eagles (A) Won 24-10
June 16 - Exeter Centurions (A) Won 56-0
June 30 - Devon Sharks (H) Won 52-6
July 7 - East Devon Eagles (A) Won 48-40
July 11 - East Devon Eagles (A) (Devon Cup Final) Lost 34-40
July 14 - Somerset Vikings (H) Won 52-12
July 21 - Exeter Centurions (H) Won 60-0
Aug 11 - Devon Sharks (H) (SW Division Grand Final) Won 96-0
Sep 2 - Bedford Tigers (Bristol) (RLC Semi Final) Lost 16-26
May 16 - Plymouth Titans (H) Lost 12-46
June 3rd - Devon Sharks (A) Lost 16-66
June 10th - Exeter Centurions (H) Lost 34-37
June 17th - East Devon Eagles (A) Lost 34-60
July 8th - Devon Sharks (Tamarside Trophy) (H) Lost 28-46
* [http://www.plymouthrugbyleague.com/ Official site]
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