History 2 of 2

2. History 2

This season, more than ever before, the difficulty in raising teams is overwhelming. Richmond Club claims our heavy forwards and our best half, hospital duties seem to claim others, whilst general slackness and old age appear to render others a suitable excuse for not playing.

In 1920 a conscious effort was made by all concerned to resurrect the Club, to dispel the 'appalling apathy displayed by so many.'

Next season KCHRFC will be a club worth playing for. We must see more men fighting for their places in the team.

Whilst this did not have the initial desired effect, it may have lead to them winning 10 of 13 games in 1924 and their reaching of the final rounds of the Hospital Cup, a feat which was almost repeated the following season when King's fell in the semi-final to Guy's Hospital. Details of the 1924 final are sketchy but in the finals 1926 and 1929 Guy's were victorious. The final of 1935 saw an eventful game but despite King's effortless play, the loss of their half back proved vital resulting in a loss to St. Mary's, and, as the game lies today, King's may never again have the opportunity to even dream of holding aloft the trophy of the oldest Rugby knockout competition in the World.

This year the Club had no brilliant players, but it made up for their absence by producing a team of which every member played hard, unremittingly hard, from the first whistle to the final no-side. It was this determination and unflagging energy alone which carried them to the final, and which enabled them, with one off the field and another badly injured, to hold St. Mary's so adequately that they only crossed their line once.

This period of success in the 20's and 30's also brought with it a number of celebrity players. Dr Ron Cove-Smith, captain of England (29 caps) and the British Lions in 1924 being one such name along with Dr D J Macmyn, Scotland International (11caps), British Lions captain in the 1927 tour of Argentina and who later became President of the Scottish Rugby Union. Both of whom were later honoured as Vice Presidents of the club. W R F Collis (Ireland) being another notable international capped player.

With the Hospital's Cup, like many others, badly disrupted during the war, the forties was a period of relative quiet for the club. In 1939 bad weather and influenza meant even raising a first XV was a task. The 50's and 60's saw periods of transition for the club. In 1955 the entire 1st XV and 'A' XV were due to qualify, stripping the team of their vital asset, players. The record for 1960 was not its best. Played 22, won 5, drawn 2 and lost 15. Despite this the Club was still managing to field five teams and in 1965 won a Hospital's Cup match for the first time in seven seasons.

With the coming of the Centenary Year was renewed hope. 1971 proving to be the Club's most successful for 25 years, although this faded quickly along with Robert House's enthusiasm.

I am saddened and disillusioned by my year as Secretary and I wish the next year's Committee all good luck in rousing some enthusiasm for the Club and the game. They will need it!

Inspiration may not have been the intended recipient of these comments but the following season saw figures of Played 35, Won 25 and a narrow defeat to Bart's Hospital in the Semi-final of the Cup, losing 7-9. A similar feat was achieved in 1976 as the Club won 27 out of a possible 38.

1975 saw a period of change for the grounds as well as the Club. The famous clubhouse on Dog Kennel Hill was lost to fire having stood since 1921. The Hospital set about building new facilities where the Club would remain until their last ever game on Dog Kennel Hill in 1990. A Sainsbury's Superstore now proudly hugs the ground where our once famous grass lay and since the fateful day in 1990, King's have played their homes games at the Griffin Sports Club on Dulwich Village.

Soon after this change in the nineties came the most serious test of the Club's ability to survive. In 1995 Guy's, King's and St. Thomas' Medical Departments merged to become one and so too did their Rugby teams. Where once we were the Hospital Medic's team we are now an open Club, proud in our History as one of the oldest Club's in the World, and proud in our future as a member of the Rugby Football Union, striving to make this season our most successful yet!

With the change of the millennium came a new start for King's. Success in the merit leagues brought with it an invitation to compete in Kent Rugby's leagues. Building on only having one XV in 2003, King's now proudly boast two competitive teams who turn out each week of the season and in 2005 the newly inaugurated 'Griffin XV' played together as the club's first official social team. Our stock of Tawny Port will never be the same again!

We would like to thank Helen Dunstan who has unknowingly provided the most of the contents of this section of the website