Tue 25 Apr 2017 09:51

The club was founded in 1965 and played out of Castle Manor School under skipper Bill Whannell, resplendent in shirts of red and white hoops. After match entertainment was carried out in various pubs in the town. The "home" pitch became RAF Stradishall in 1970 whilst drinking out of the Woolpack under the watchful eye of Bill Clayton. For some reason, the club colours changed to maroon - well in theory anyway. The club never owned any shirts and if Morley's didn't have any in stock players BOUGHT whatever was available and played in that. Clashes with the opposition were to be avoided but the times we played in skins were numerous - not to be recommended in January but at least it made tackling harder for the opposition.

From Strad, the next move was to the Chalkstone Playing fields - still in maroon. Drinking was carried out with great aplomb at the Plough along Withersfield Road. Pete Cleary was the landlord and a great time was had by all passing "Shim" off to the opposition as a great pull. No pictures are available (unless you know different!) but apparently he was a good looking bird!

Still playing at the Chalkstone, we had a year at the White Hart under Dick and Erika Green. Frank (spinster of this parish) Williams was soundly beaten in the yard of ale by landlords son, ex president, ex player, ex and soon to be again, cook and bottle washer and all round good egg, Riky. (His dad couldn't spell Ricky on the Birth Certificate).

Our first permanent home was a disused council pavilion on castle playing fields. We moved in during 1974 (ish) after much hard work by members and especially the then secretary, Roger Taylor. The old "shed" was transformed in 1975 with a proper floor - laid just in time for Christmas. In fact the floor was laid, in a semi random fashion, by a rather inebriated gentleman on Christmas Eve. At that time, the club ran a Father Christmas run to raise funds (for the local Meals on Wheels) and also the club profile. Riky Green still insists that the fact that he was well pissed on Xmas day (acting as Father Christmas) was due to his spending the night sleeping behind the bar, with the solvent fumes in the air, whilst on guard duty over the presents!

Our own kitchen became a source of much amusement with a volunteer having to feign injury at some time during the second half to go and turn the sausages - black and pink stripes were not considered appetising! Once the wives, sweethearts and local spinsters became aware of the lack of changing facilities, cooking duties were taken over by so many volunteers that the kitchen had to be expanded. What you may well ask has the lack of changing facilities got to do with getting female cooks? Well, soon it became common knowledge that the curtain dividing the clubhouse didn't meet in the middle and was also prone to collapse! Voyeurs of the world unite!

A couple of years later (1982?) a Portacabin was added, along with a causeway to connect the two. Much of the work was done by teams from the Youth Training Scheme with the assistance of Henry (Mac) MacAulay. This eased the changing room situation but by now the exhibitionist nature of the players was such that female cooks were still in evidence, particularly when bar diving was the order of the day!

o avoid colour clashes with Clacton, the Ankins decided that we should change shirt colours. The outcry was so loud that, to ease the situation, it was agreed that the club would PAY FOR the strip! The Claret and Blue decided upon had absolutely nothing to do with the Ankins' support of a soccer club based somewhere in East London who Ham it up on the West side of the city.

(Sometime during the mid 70s, the council came up with a cunning game plan to ruin our game - they decided to spend serious money (£20K?) on draining the pitches. Fortunately the plan backfired - it appears that the contractor may have backfilled the drainage channels with clay.)

Once the holes in the causeway had become big enough to lose a scrum half down, a new clubhouse was on the agenda. After much fund raising, begging, borrowing and just a little misappropriation the new clubhouse was finally opened by Dudley Wood in December 1995. detailed examination of the files of that period gives a small insight into the prodigious amount of work done by Clive Farrow to ensure the building project went through to completion.

The bar is the centre of the clubhouse and serves a superb pint of Adnams. Complete with a fully equipped (and clean!) kitchen, the clubhouse is the focus of the social side of the club. Everything from an informal piss up to a formal VP lunch and even the annual presentation dinner/dance take place in the clubhouse. Much needed revenue is provided by hiring out the clubhouse and the club's disco for weddings, birthday parties and all sorts of events.

The latest addition to the club grounds is the One to One tower, and provides a useful source of income.

In 2002 the council finally got around to carrying out £30K's worth of drainage work on the pitches.

In October 2005, the Webb Ellis trophy visited the club on the final stage of the sweet chariot tour.