Wednesday, November 09, 2011

140 not out

As I was taking the Bomber to rugby on the weekend (he got three tries and "man of the match" thanks for asking) we were weaving through the traffic on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

The Edwardian splendour of some of the vehicles we encountered put me in an excellent frame of mind to discover that Streatham and Croydon, the team whose ground we were visiting, having been founded in 1871 were one of the oldest rugby clubs in the world and celebrating their 140th anniversary.

The history page on their website is full of good things, in the 1890s:
The club used the Greyhound lane ground and began by running 3 sides. The team would practise interpassing on Streatham Common so they were capable of taking part in attacking moves, this being quite a revolutionary step. If moonlight was lacking the ball was wrapped in a large white handkerchief . Experiments were made with floodlighting but these did not prove very successful. The average weight of the team was only 10 stone 11 pounds, but speed understanding and fitness were made to compensate for this. Every Thursday at 9PM there was a club run from the Pied Bull to Thornton Heath Pond and back and on Sunday afternoons there would be a club walk.
Honing fitness on an afternoon constitutional, that's the stuff.

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