Blackheath F.C.

Full name Blackheath Football Club
Union Rugby Football Union
Nickname(s) Club
Founded 1858 (1858)
Location Eltham, London, England
Ground(s) Well Hall
President Des Diamond
Director of Rugby Colin Ridgway
Coach(es) Mike Friday, Mattie Stewart
Captain(s) Markus Burcham
League(s) National League 1
2015–16 3rd
Team kit
Official website

Blackheath Football Club is a rugby union club based in Eltham in south-east London, currently playing at former training ground, Well Hall, having moved from the famous Rectory Field in Blackheath at the end of the 2015-16 season. The club was founded in 1858 and is the oldest open rugby club in the world since becoming open in 1862. "Open" in this context means that membership was open to anyone, not merely those attending, or old boys from, a particular institution (e.g. a school, university or hospital). It is also the third-oldest rugby club in continuous existence in the world, after Dublin University Football Club and Edinburgh Academical Football Club. The Blackheath club also helped organise the world's first rugby international (between England and Scotland in Edinburgh on 27 March 1871) and hosted the first international between England and Wales ten years later – the players meeting and getting changed at the Princess of Wales public house. Blackheath, along with Civil Service FC, is one of the two clubs that can claim to be a founder member of both The Football Association and the Rugby Football Union. The club currently play in National League 1 the third tier of the English rugby union system.


Early history

The institution was founded as "Blackheath Football Club" in 1858 by old boys of Blackheath Proprietary School who played a "carrying" game of football made popular by Rugby School. When the old boys played against the current pupils supporters would shout for either "Club" or "School" accordingly. This is why to this day supporters of BFC shout for "Club", not for "Blackheath".

In 1863 the club developed the tactic of passing the ball from player to player as an alternative to the solo break and the "kick and follow-up".

In 1863 Blackheath was a founder member of The Football Association which was formed at the Freemasons' Tavern, Great Queen Street, on Lincoln Inn Fields, London 26 October 1863 with the intention to frame a code of laws that would embrace the best and most acceptable points of all the various methods of play under the one heading of "football". Mr Francis Maule Campbell, a member of Blackheath, was elected treasurer. At the fifth meeting Campbell argued that hacking was an essential element of 'football' and that to eliminate hacking would "do away with all the courage and pluck from the game, and I will be bound over to bring over a lot of Frenchmen who would beat you with a week’s practice."[1] At the sixth meeting on 8 December Campbell withdrew Blackheath, explaining that the rules that the FA intended to adopt would destroy the game and all interest in it. Other rugby clubs followed this lead and did not join the Football Association. In this way the great divide between soccer and rugby took place.

In December 1870 Edwin Ash, secretary of Richmond Football Club published a letter in the papers which said, "Those who play the rugby-type game should meet to form a code of practice as various clubs play to rules which differ from others, which makes the game difficult to play." On 26 January 1871 a meeting attended by representatives from 22 clubs was held in London at the Pall Mall Restaurant. As a result of this meeting the Rugby Football Union (RFU) was founded. Three lawyers who had been pupils at Rugby School drew up the first laws of the game which were approved in June 1871. The Club is one of seven of the original twenty-one clubs to have survived to this day.

Later history

Blackheath initially played its matches on the Heath (meeting and changing at the Princess of Wales public house) but occasional interruptions from spectators led the club to move, initially to a private field (Richardson's Field) in Blackheath before moving to the Rectory Field in 1883.

On 27 March 1871, England (captained by Blackheath's captain and with three other Club players in the 20-strong side) played Scotland at Raeburn Place, Edinburgh, losing by one point. This was the first international rugby union game in history. Richardson's Field hosted the first England v. Wales fixture on 19 February 1881, which England won, again with four Club players in the side. In 1982 Blackheath joined the list of winning teams at the Glengarth Sevens at Stockport R.U.F.C

After 158 years it was announced that the 2015-16 season would be the last playing at the historic Rectory Field as the club had made the difficult decision to move to their training ground, Well Hall in Eltham, for the 2016-17 season in order to maximise matchday revenue and to continue developing for the future.[2][3] Blackheath played their last game at the Rectory Field on 30 April 2016, beating Blaydon 45 - 17.[4]

Club honours

Current standings

2016–17 National League 1 Table
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Hartpury College 14 14 0 0 634 186 448 14 0 70
2 Birmingham Moseley 14 11 0 3 402 310 92 6 1 51
3 Plymouth Albion 14 10 0 4 430 287 143 8 3 51
4 Blackheath 14 10 0 4 376 261 115 8 1 49
5 Ampthill 14 10 0 4 369 294 75 6 1 47
6 Coventry 14 8 0 6 438 354 84 6 2 40
7 Rosslyn Park 14 6 1 7 369 286 83 4 5 35
8 Old Albanian 14 6 0 8 360 375 −15 8 3 35
9 Loughborough Students 14 6 1 7 435 473 −38 7 1 34
10 Cambridge 14 6 0 8 371 469 −98 8 2 34
11 Esher 14 5 0 9 376 388 −12 6 5 31
12 Fylde 14 5 0 9 326 457 −131 7 3 30
13 Darlington Mowden Park 14 5 0 9 257 400 −143 3 2 25
14 Hull Ionians 14 4 0 10 279 458 −179 2 4 22
15 Blaydon 14 2 1 11 296 520 −224 5 3 18
16 Macclesfield 14 2 1 11 293 493 −200 4 3 17
  • Points system: 4 points for a win; 2 points for a draw; 1 point if a team loses by seven points or less (losing bonus); 1 point if the team scores four or more tries in a match (try bonus)
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled

    Green background is the promotion place. Pink background are relegation places.
    Updated: 3 December 2016
    Source: "National League 1". NCA Rugby. 

    Modern club


    Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

    Player Position Union
    Simon Legg Prop England England
    Desmond Brett Prop England England
    James Cleverly Prop England England
    Nick Winwood Prop Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
    James Cleverly Prop England England
    Jake Lock Prop England England
    Alex Brown Prop England England
    Mike Freeman Prop England England
    Damien Patot Prop France France
    Joe Brady Prop England England
    Zsa Valishvili Prop Georgia (country) Georgia
    Jack Knight Hooker England England
    Harry Allen Hooker England England
    Bill Sandison Hooker England England
    Joe Bonner Hooker England England
    Rhys Barney Hooker England England
    Nick Agbo Hooker England England
    Charlie Woodall Hooker England England
    Neil Dewale Lock England England
    Alastair Vanner Lock England England
    Tom Bason Lock England England
    Ralph Cooke Lock England England
    Ben Johnson Lock England England
    Gavin Wallis Flanker England England
    James Catt Flanker England England
    Lee Covington Flanker England England
    Richard Pike Flanker England England
    Mark Davey Flanker England England
    Richard Paddick Flanker England England
    Dave Allen Flanker England England
    Tom Lawry Flanker England England
    Dave Brown Flanker England England
    Jabba Hanson Flanker England England
    Trueman Sullivan Flanker England England
    Gareth Jones Number 8 Wales Wales
    David Packer Number 8 England England
    Mark Harlow-Singh Number 8 England England
    Player Position Union
    James Honeyben Scrum-half England England
    Ben Ibrahim Scrum-half England England
    Jack Walsh Scrum-half England England
    Sam Edyman Scrum-half England England
    Henry Johnson Scrum-half England England
    Luke Baldwin Scrum-half England England
    Matthew Leek Fly-half England England
    Matt Vaughan Fly-half New Zealand New Zealand
    Paul Humphries Fly-half England England
    Peter Squires Fly-half England England
    Mike Staten Centre England England
    Steve Hamilton Centre England England
    Romain Perret Centre France France
    James Denham Centre England England
    Jonathan Joseph Centre England England
    Richard Lankshear Centre England England
    Sean Moan Centre Zimbabwe Zimbabwe
    Richard Winsor Centre England England
    Henry Staff Centre England England
    Ed Doe Wing England England
    Dan Caprice Wing England England
    Niikolas Van Mol Wing England England
    Ovie Koloko Wing England England
    James Tyrell Wing England England
    Martin Lacey Wing England England
    Martin Olima Fullback Ireland Ireland
    Jake Smith Fullback England England
    Marcus Watson Fullback England England
    Ben Ransom Fullback England England


    Past players

    See also Category:Blackheath F.C. players

    Fictional players

    See also


    1. Richard Holt,Sport and the British: A Modern History, Oxford University Press, 1990 ISBN 0-19-285229-9, p. 86
    2. "BFC Executive Statement 9.12.15". Blackheath Rugby. 9 December 2015.
    3. "Blackheath to leave the Rectory Field". Rolling Maul. 10 December 2015.
    4. "The Big Match: Blackheath v Blaydon". Blackheath Rugby. 29 April 2016.
    5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-05-21.
    6. Blackheath Rugby Official Site Archived 18 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
    7. 1 2 Steve Lewis, One Among Equals, 2008, pp9-10 (Vertical Editions:London)

    External links

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