Belsize Park RFC - Rugby Union London 2008

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Belsize Park RFC 2008

There are records of Belsize playing rugby in North West London since the 1860s. In 1871, Belsize were one of the eight clubs at the inaugural meeting of the Rugby Football Union, and therefore pioneers of the game of Rugby Union. In 1878, Belsize moved to form Rosslyn Park RFC, becoming one of England's leading clubs.

In 1971, Belsize were re-established by a group of local players, who developed a philosophy of Win the Game, but definitely win the party! The reborn Belsize have more in common with the footloose, amateur ethos and spirit of the Victorian club; indeed, many of those original members are still with us, and playing! The spirit of the 'new' club was set in the first season, when we developed our 15-man game style - unless only 14, 13 or 12 turned up - and we had our first tour: Paris. Party to 7 a.m., kick off 9 a.m., cognac/beer 11 a.m., femmes to finish, etc.

The die was cast, and Belsize developed a reputation for fun rugby immortalised in the words of our resident Doc ... "how much energy does it take to die?". By the late 1970s, the special spirit had evolved, enticing friends from all over the world, including a number of established internationals, who relished the concept of good, free spirit rugby blended with partying and excess.

These days, we have two regular sides, with an occasional third and a Vets team. Our 1st XV compete in the Middlesex and Herts Leagues with some success and our 2nd XV play in the West Herts & North Middlesex Merit table. Our pre-season training sessions take place in Regents Park with some winter training available.

In 1997, the first squad training was on a beach by the Baltic Sea, first training in 1998 on Huntington Beach, LA, 1999 on an aerodrome in Krakov, Poland and in 2000 with the fire ants at Charlotte RFC, North Carolina, US. Today, Belsize are perhaps the most widely toured small amateur club in Britain. However, despite our nomadic style, we are still true to our roots around London, and can achieve at times a surprisingly reasonable standard. We play in the Middlesex and Hertfordshire Leagues, where reached the top after four promotions in five years during the early 1990s.

The players that took us on that run now form the backbone of Belsize Old Boys, and some still aspire to a higher grade! (bless them ..). The league teams slipped - plummeted - back to the bottom league whilst regouping and recruiting a new generation of younger but like-minded free spirited rugby players. Now, in line with the club move and the new millennium, Belsize is resurgent with two promotions on the trot, holding their own in 2002, and boasting an abundance of players who know nothing about the 70s, and some stuck in the 50s! Our target is a league fixture against our daughter club, Roslyn park, but still winning the party.