Penzance RFC in 1876 & Newlyn RFC 1894?
The Early Years
During the Christmas holidays of 1870, the first recorded game of rugby to be played in West Cornwall took place at Poltair, a gentleman's residence at the bottom of Madron Hill, near Penzance.
One team, raised by W.Borlase of Marlborough School, comprised local young men, who were mainly up at university or away at boarding school. Their opponents were from the Eastern Telegraph Company (later to become Cable and Wireless) at Porthcurno.
This, then, was the genesis of the game in West Cornwall and from such roots were born Penzance RFC in 1876 and Newlyn RFC in, probably, 1894.
Pictured standing L-R
W. D. Lawry, H. Hocking, J. Downing, G. Robinson, A.Smith. H. Trenery.
C. Cocker, A. Adson, S. Stewart, J. Cornish, G. Kistler (c), T.Peak, A. Nicholls, C. Stevens.
H. Lovell and J. Blewett
Two clubs combine
Penzance played at the St Clare ground on the northern approach to the town, while Newlyn's pitch was at St. Goulder, overlooking Newlyn Coombe.
Relationships between the two Clubs were hardly ever amicable and, indeed, between 1929 and 1932, fixtures between the two were cancelled by the police in the interest of public order!
However, relationships began to mellow during the late 1930s, assisted subsequently by the temporary suspension of sporting activities during World War II.
By 1944, there existed a strong desire to amalgamate on both sides, with the result that, on 22 September 1945, a new club - Penzance and Newlyn RFC - played its first match against Guy's Hospital on the Mennaye Field.
22nd September 1945
Penzance and Newlyn v Guy's Hospital
The first match and opening of the Mennaye Field as a rugby ground.
Back row L-R
W. Norris Williams (committee), 'Bosher' Thomas, John Uren, George North, Carey Maddern
Paddy Barnett, Chris May, C.V. Paull, George Batten, Vivian 'Tinker' Taylor.
Ben Batten W. Pappin, Peter Gartrell(c), Harvey Richards, Bill Monckton
It had been impossible to get new jerseys in the rights colours so the Newlyn red and white were worn for this opening fixture, a game which we lost by five tries to a penalty goal (15-3)
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