History

Squad and dignitaries at inaugural match against Wasps at Hurlingham, Sunday 24th September 1978 - a very young Vice Chairman Bhomdat on the far left, Cliff Morgan front row in stripes.

The Club was the brainchild of a group of teachers from Henry Compton school, who identified that there was a need for a rugby club in the locality to cater for the rugby needs of the local residents and children in the local schools.

During a trip to Lancashire in 1977, the teachers decided to make their idea a reality and so it was that the Hammersmith Rugby Football Club came into existence at the Park Hotel (now demolished) Wigan over the Easter weekend of that year.

During that trip a temporary Management Committee was appoInted. Ed Naylor (who went on to become Mayor of Kingston upon Thames) became Chairman, Adam Lunanski became Secretary, Martin Mowforth became Treasurer, Martin Williams became and Brian McVicar became Publicity Officer. Adam Lubanski was tasked to produce the Constitution.


The Club adopted the colours of the Metropolitan Borough of Fulham (that which existed up to 1965) and experimented with several logos (all involving bad drawings of Hammersmith bridge) before settling on the logo that is still in use and which is taken from part of the Borough’s coat of arms.

On their return to London the Committee approached the London Borough of Hammersmith (as it was then) about the provision of a rugby pitch. In March 1978 the Leisure & Recreation Committee of the London Borough of Hammersmith granted the Club the use of the central pitch at Hurlingham Park.

Preparations then started for 1978/79 season; as the West London Observer reported on 20th April 1978 “A Rugby Club is Born”.

Arrangements were made to use The Peterborough Arms, opposite Eel Brooke Common on the New Kings Road, as the Club’s first social base.

On 12th July 1978 the Club held its first training session at Hurlingham Park in preparation for the trials match which took place against Old Wimbledonians on Saturday 2nd September 1978.


Such was the success of the trial that two sides were fielded away against UCS Old Boys on Saturday September 1978; unfortunately both games were lost; the First XV lost 6:3 and the Second XV lost 14:4.

Cliff Morgan (Wales, Barbarians & British Lions) agreed to become our first President in 1978 and remained in that position until his death in August 2013. He was our one and only President.; his endorsement of the Club (and the occasional donation) was key to early success.

The first home game at Hurlingham Park was against Wasps on Sunday 24th September 1978. In spite of being level 6:6 at half time, the First XV went on to lose 18:9. The Hammers try was scored by Captain Derek Jones and the conversion and a second half penalty were kicked by John Matthewman. Although Derek Jones’s try was the first scored in a Hammers shirt at Hurlingham, the honour of scoring the first ever try in Club colours went to Martin Kilbane, who scored at the Quintin Sevens.

The first win came the following week, when the First XV beat Wimbledon 2nds 21:8.

At a special general meeting on the 19th October 1978 the Club ratified election of the temporary Management Committee.

The Club continued to grow and early in 1979, the Club fielded a third XV for the first time.

The Club’s reputation for touring started in its very first season, when a tour party of approximately 40 went to Minehead over the 1979 Easter weekend. On this tour the current Club Chairman,Terry Alleyne, was appointed “Games Master and Imposer of Fines”.

Photograph showing the old stand that faced onto the First XV pitch (taken in 1983). The stand was demolished in 2003 to make way for a new sport’s pavillion.


The formation of the Club was completed when on 20th April 1979 the Club was elected as a member of the Rugby Football Union.

Such was the growth of the Club that at the end of its first season a successful application was to the Council for a second pitch at Hurlingham. The use of a second pitch enabled the Club to form a Colts XV in its second season and this was quickly followed by a Fourth XV under the Captaincy of Martin “Masher” Mowforth.

The London Borough of Hammersmith was formed in 1965 by the merger fo the Metropolitan Borough of Hammersmith and the Metropolitan Borough of Fulham.

The loss of the Fulham name was not popular locally (especially in Fulham) and on 1st January 1979 the Borough changed its name to the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham.

The Club was indebted to the Borough for its assistance in providing the facilities at Hurlingham and so, in order to maintain its close links with the Borough, the Club decided at its Annual General Meeting in April 1979 to change its name to Hammersmith & Fulham Rugby Football Club.

In the 1978/1979 season, in need of an away kit, the club asked Bhomdat Mahraj and Marco DeVeras (Hammers first fixture secretary) who helped run an old boys team; Wrenegades RFC (former pupils of Christopher Wren School in White City, Shepherds Bush), who wore light blue. It was a number of years before the Hammers bought their own kit, keeping the light blue as a reminder of the goodwill shown by the Wrenegades.