History of Hornsby Rugby Club


 
1906 Hornsby Rugby Team
Hornsby's First Football Team (1906)


Rugby Union was played in Hornsby as early as 1906 as can be seen in this photograph of a Hornsby "Football" team taken that year with an obviously Rugby shaped ball.

The team includes then 17 year old James "Jimmy" Bancks, the creator of the Ginger Meggs comic strip who based the strip on his childhood adventures in suburban Hornsby where he lived from lived from 1900 to 1909. Also in the team is well known Hornsby identity James Somerville.

This pre-dates the introduction of Rugby League to Australia in 1908.

There are also photographs of Hornsby Rugby teams taken during the 1940s and 1950s and evidence that a club was established in 1954 and competed in the Gordon-Northern Districts Rugby Union competition.




Moves to re-establish the club began with an initial public meeting at the Pymble Community Hall in late 1961. The move to form the club was in response to the Sydney Rugby Union’s decision to establish a Second Division of the Sydney Grade Competition in 1962. There was also a Hornsby Rugby Junior club at this time established in 1956 by Gordon Clifford who went on to be a major contributor to the establishment of the senior club. The junior club ceased to exist in 1968 but reformed in 2000 and is now fielding teams in most age groups.

Just one week before the new competition was due to start the club had only sixteen players. During the next week one of the club’s founders, John Carroll, attended the Gordon club’s grading’s night and enticed thirteen ungraded players to come to the Hornsby club.

The Club opened the 1962 season with twenty-nine players and entered two teams in the competition with Waitara Oval as its home ground. Numbers of players increased in ensuing years allowing a Third Grade side to be entered in 1963 and a Fourth Grade side in 1964.

Don Clarke playing for Waikato
Don Clarke playing for Waikato


In 1965 Hornsby was the first district club in the Sydney Rugby competition to form a Colt’s (under 20s) team. This year also saw the great All Black and Waikato player Don "The Boot" Clarke tour Australia. While here he agreed to play for Hornsby whose jersey was inspired by the Waikato province team colours of Red, Black and Gold.

Around 1000 people came to watch him play against Mosman at Waitara Oval on Saturday 11th July. Clarke was a prolific goal kicker for the All Blacks and led Hornsby to a win by scoring a try and kicking two penalties and three conversions. There were some restrictions place upon from where he could attempt goal kicks. Apparrently one successful attempt was from beyond halfway and landed in the tennis courts at the southern end of the ground.

In 1969 Skippy the famous bush kangaroo visited Waitara Oval for the filming of television show's 88th episode. Many Hornsby players featured in the episode as it revolved around an attempted match fixing ring and featured quite a bit of on field footage. The late John Meillon featured in this episode as a St Johns Ambulance officer.




Away from the on field activities, Hornsby had been trying to establish a Licenced club and were successful in purchasing a block of land near Waitara station (current site of Asquith Leagues Club) for £10,000. The block was sold in the early 1970’s for $130,000 enabling the club to purchase a building and establish a licensed club in Pound Rd. The club commenced trading in 1978. Unfortunately the licensed club did not survive the high interest rates of the early 1990’s and was eventually sold.

During the 1970s Hornsby developed as a strong Second Division Club and held hopes of gaining entry into the Sydney First Division competition. The introduction of promotion and relegation provided the club with this opportunity in 1976. Hornsby accepted the offer of promotion and were now playing the likes of Randwick, Sydney University and neighbouring clubs of Gordon and Eastwood. Hornsby struggled to be competitive at this level of competition as a club however our First Grade produced some creditable performances.

This year also saw a terrible incident when on a cold and rainy day at Concord Oval a scrum collapsed leaving 23 year old Hornsby hooker Evan Fraser a quadriplegic.

Sadly Evan passed away in 2012 aged 59. Despite his circumstances Evan maintained a keen interest in Rugby and the Hornsby club. Evan was instrumental in the creation of the Hearts in Union Foundation and this stands as a significant legacy for this remarkable man.

The late 1970s also saw Hornsby Rugby Club establish a strong link with the Fijian community as a number of players from the Nadi district arrived to bolster our ranks. Some of these players were Fijian internationals and included Nasivi Ravouvou and Joe Savou. While these players were already internationals, Hornsby players John Edwards and Nasivi’s nephew Lai Ravouvou returned to Fiji to represent their country. Bill Vai was also a great player for Hornsby and was selected to play for NSW against a World XV in 1983. In more recent years Hornsby Rugby has welcomed players from many backgrounds and has developed a particularly strong association with the Tongan Community.




Hornsby returned to the Second Division in 1979 a much stronger club and was determined to return to the top level. This was achieved in 1981 and the club managed two First Grade wins (and a draw with archrival and neighbouring club Gordon) and one Second Grade win but was unable to avoid relegation. It is worth noting that Hornsby fielded four Colt’s teams in 1981, a fact which undoubtedly made some neighbouring clubs nervous and may well have hastened the Sydney Rugby Union’s decision to abandon the promotion and relegation system.




Hornsby continued as a strong Second Division club, regularly having all or most of our teams playing in the finals. The Club was still hopeful that promotion and relegation would be introduced giving us the opportunity to regain access to the higher level of competition. The promotion of Drummoyne in 1990 appeared to create that opportunity but Hornsby was denied access to the First Division despite winning the Second Division Club Championship three years in succession.

This was an era of significant success on the playing field for the Club. The Lions had a series of almost invincible Colt's teams and won many premierships including the 1991 First Grade, Third Grade and Colts Premierships and the 1991 and 1992 Club Championship trophy.

In 1993 the Second Division competition was combined with the Sydney Suburban competition. As winners of the Sydney Second Division competition in 1991 and 1992 Hornsby were promoted directly into Div 1 of the new Suburban competition which included 17 teams. The club continued their strong success that year winning the Second Grade, Third Grade and Colts Premierships and the Bruce Graham Sheild (Club Championship).

The structure changed in 1994 with only the top ten teams from 1993 remaining in Div 1. While the club performed well in the first couple of years of this new format, the removal of the club’s district status and the dominance of old boys clubs and premiership “satellite” clubs has made it difficult for the Hornsby club to attract players. Hornsby stuggled in this format until they were relegated to Subbies Div 2 following a 10th place finish in 1997.



Andrew Warner

The club endured a particularly tragic event on June 1st 2002 when first grade player Andrew Warner died as a result of injuries sustained during a match at Waitara oval. Andrew was a club stalwart who had played over 100 games for the club and was also a coach with the club. Andrew is remembered at the annual Back to Hornsby day when the first grade teams play for the Andrew Warner Memorial trophy.

No history of Hornsby Rugby would be complete without acknowledging club legend Glen Marks. Glen has played over 700 games for the club and now holds a record for the number of games played with a single club.

Hornsby remained in the Second Division of the Sydney Suburban competition for 14 consecutive years. Over that time the Lions had a strong presence in the finals series and won several premierships but were relegated to Third Division in 2012 which was Hornsby's 50th anniversary year.

The club has a determination to continue to provide local people with the opportunity to enjoy the great game of Rugby through a strengthening senior club and the continued successful development of its junior club.

See the Hornsby Rugby News page for news stories across the decades.

Trophy Cabinet

Hornsby's First Premiership came in 1966 when they won the 2nd Grade Premiership in the Sydney Second Division competition. Since then Hornsby teams from each senior grade have won many trophies across both the Sydney Second Division competition and the Sydney Suburban competition. Some of these trophies are:

Special Trophies
Andy Warner Memorial Trophy
2012 [def Epping 24-5] Match Reports 1 & 2
2007 [def Lindfield 33-21] Match Report
2005 [def Beecroft 29-24] Match Report

Premierships
1st Grade
1991 (Sydney 2nd Div) [def UNSW 14-10] Match Report

2nd Grade
1993 Burke Cup Premiers (Div 1)
1966 (Sydney 2nd Div) [def Hawkesbury 9-6]

3rd Grade
2009 Blunt Cup Joint Premiers (Div 2)   [Lindfield 19-19]
2000 Blunt Cup Premiers (Div 2)
1999 Blunt Cup Premiers (Div 2)   [def Knox 20-8]
1993 Whiddon Cup Premiers (Div 1)
1991 Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1990 Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)

4th Grade
2006 Richardson Cup Joint Premiers (Div 2)   [Beecroft 5-5]
1999 Richardson Cup Premiers (Div 2)   [def Canterbury 5-3]
1992 Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1971 Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)   [def Bankstown 14-11]

Colts - Under 21's
2009 Robertson Cup Premiers (Div 2)   [def Barker 15-10]
2007 Robertson Cup Premiers (Div 2)   [def Lindfield 20-18]
1993 Barbour Cup Premiers (Div 1)
1991 Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1987 2nd Grade Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div) [def Warringah 8-7]


Minor Premierships
1st Grade
1992 (Sydney 2nd Div)
1991 (Sydney 2nd Div)
1990 (Sydney 2nd Div)

2nd Grade
1993 Burke Cup Minor Premiers (Div 1)
1966 (Sydney 2nd Div)

3rd Grade
2010 Blunt Cup Minor Premiers (Div 2)
2009 Blunt Cup Minor Premiers (Div 2)
1991 (Sydney 2nd Div)

4th Grade
2007 Richardson Cup Minor Premiers (Div 2)

Colts - Under 21's
1991 (Sydney 2nd Div)


Club Championships
201110th Place Dvi 2 Reliance Shield [Hunters Hill]
2010 9th Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Barker Old Boys]
2009 9th Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Linfield]
2008 9th Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Kings Old Boys]
2007 7th Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Beecroft]
2006 9th Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Barker Old Boys]
2005 2nd Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Campbelltown]
2004 3rd Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Knox Old Boys]
2003 9th Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Beecroft]
2002 7th Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Waverley]
2001 3rd Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Dundas Valley]
2000 7th Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [St Ives]
1999
1998 3rd Place Div 2 Reliance Shield [Waverley]
199710th Place Div 1 Bruce Graham Sheild [UNSW]
1996 6th Place Div 1 Bruce Graham Sheild [Mosman]
1995 8th Place Div 1 Bruce Graham Sheild [UNSW]
1994 9th Place Div 1 Bruce Graham Sheild [UWS Hawkesbury]
1993 Winners of the Div 1 Bruce Graham Sheild

Click here for full details of Hornsby's Club Championship placings within the Suburban Rugby Competition.

1992 1st Place (Sydney 2nd Div)
1991 1st Place (Sydney 2nd Div)
1966 1st Place (Sydney 2nd Div)
Click here to read an article from the Hornsby Advocate about Hornsby's very successful 1991 season.

Robertson Cup Premiers 2009

Blunt Cup Premiers 2009

Richardson Cup Premiers 2006

Bruce Graham Sheild Winner 1993

Hornsby Rugby Club Key Dates


2012 Hornsby 1st Grade win the Andy Warner Memorial Trophy against Epping on June 2nd, 2012 (Back To Hornsby Day).
2012 Matt Dunning leads the Hornsby 1st Grade team for Back To Hornsby Day.
2012 Hornsby Rugby Celebrate their 50th Anniversary
2012 - 3rd Grade make the Campbell Finals series

2010 - 3rd Grade Blunt Cup Runners Up [Barker 5-10]
2010 - 3rd Grade Blunt Cup Minor Premiers
2010 - Colts Robertson Cup Semi-Finalists

2009 Hornsby are the only team in 2009 Div 2 to win two Premierships
2009 - 3rd Grade Blunt Cup Joint Premiers [Lindfield 19-19]
2009 - 3rd Grade Blunt Cup Minor Premiers
2009 - Colts Robertson Cup Premiers [def Barker 15-10]
2009 - Colts Robertson Cup Finalists for the 4th consecutive year

2008 - 4th Grade Richardson Cup Finalists
2008 - Colts Robertson Cup Finalists

2007 Hornsby 1st Grade win the Andy Warner Memorial Trophy against Lindfield on June 2nd, 2007 (Back To Hornsby Day).
2007 - 4th Grade Richardson Cup Minor Premiers
2007 - 4th Grade make the Richardson Cup Finals
2007 - Colts Robertson Cup Premiers [def Lindfield 20-18]

2006 - 2nd Grade make the Stockdale Cup Finals
2006 - 4th Grade Richardson Cup Joint Premiers [Beecroft 5-5]

2007 Hornsby 1st Grade win the Andy Warner Memorial Trophy against Beecroft on June 4th, 2005 (Back To Hornsby Day).
2005 Hornsby finish second in the Div 2 Club Championship table
2005 - 1st Grade Barraclough Cup Runners Up [St Ives 17-18]
2005 - 2nd Grade Stockdale Cup Finalists

2004 Hornsby finish third in the Div 2 Club Championship table
2004 - 1st Grade Barraclough Cup Semi-Finalists
2004 - 2nd Grade Stockdale Cup Semi-Finalists
2004 - Colts Robertson Cup Finalists

2003 - 4th Grade Richardson Cup Semi-Finalists

2002 Hornsby clubman Andy Warner died as a result of injuries sustained during a home game against Oatley Rugby Club on June 1st
2002 - 4th Grade Richardson Cup Runners Up [Beecroft 5-8]
2002 - 3rd Grade Blunt Cup Semi-Finalists

2001 Sokonaia Ratudradra (Flanker) wins the 2001 W.W. Ellis Medal
2001 Hornsby finish third in the Div 2 Club Championship table
2001 All Hornsby Grade teams finish within the top four and make the finals series
2001 - 1st Grade Barraclough Cup Semi-Finalists
2001 - 2nd Grade Stockdale Cup Semi-Finalists
2001 - 3rd Grade Blunt Cup Semi-Finalists
2001 - 4th Grade Richardson Cup Semi-Finalists

2000 - 3rd Grade Blunt Cup Premiers

1999 - 2nd Grade Stockdale Cup Runners Up [Drummoyne 10-23]
1999 - 3rd Grade Blunt Cup Premiers [def Knox 20-8]
1999 - 4th Grade Richardson Cup Premiers [def Canterbury 5-3]
1999 - 4th Grade Richardson Cup Minor Premiers

1998 Hornsby finish third in the Div 2 Club Championship table

1997 Hornsby finish the season bottom of the Div 1 Championship table and are relegated to Div 2 in 1998

1994 - Colts Barbour Cup Runners Up

1993 Club Champions - Bruce Graham Sheild
1993 - 2nd Grade Burke Cup Premiers
1993 - 2nd Grade Burke Cup Minor Premiers
1993 - 3rd Grade Whiddon Cup Premiers
1993 - Colts Barbour Cup Premiers

1992 Club Champions (Sydney 2nd Div)
1992 - 1st Grade Minor Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1992 - 4th Grade Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)

1991 Club Champions (Sydney 2nd Div)
1991 - 1st Grade Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div) [def UNSW 14-10]
1991 - 1st Grade Minor Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1991 - 3rd Grade Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1991 - 3rd Grade Minor Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1991 - 2nd Grade Runners Up (Sydney 2nd Div) [UNSW 3-17]
1991 - 4th Grade Semi-Finalists (Sydney 2nd Div)
1991 - Colts Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1991 - Colts Minor Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)

1990 - 1st Grade Minor Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)
1990 - 3rd Grade Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)

1987 - 2nd Grade Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div) [def Warringah 8-7]

1977 Hornsby hooker Evan Fraser suffers a spinal injury during a game at Concord Oval

1972 - 4th Grade Runners Up (Sydney 2nd Div) [Bankstown 7-12]

1971 - 4th Grade Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div) [def Bankstown 14-11]

1968 - Hornsby Juniors Rugby Club ceased to operate
1968 - 3rd Grade Runners Up (Sydney 2nd Div) [Cantebury 6-12]

1966 Club Champions (Sydney 2nd Div)
1966 - 1st Grade Runners Up (Sydney 2nd Div) [Hawkesbury 0-22]
1966 - 2nd Grade Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div) [def Hawkesbury 9-6]
1966 - 2nd Grade Minor Premiers (Sydney 2nd Div)

1965 Hornsby Juniors Rugby Club established
1965 - Colts Semi-Finalists (Sydney 2nd Div)

1962 Hornsby Rugby Club re-established

The History of NSW Rugby

The twin histories of the city of Sydney and the sport of Rugby Union in the Southern Hemisphere are inextricably linked. Sydney was the first place in which the game of Rugby was played south of the equator, and probably the first place outside Britain.

From the very first game of Rugby on Australian soil, played at the Hyde Park Ground in 1865, to such occasions as Super Rugby semifinals down the road at the Sydney Football Stadium, Rugby has been synonymous with Sydney and vice-versa.

Sydney University Rugby Club, founded in 1863, is the oldest Rugby club outside of Britain. The NSWRU (The Southern RU) was established in 1874, well before the Unions of Ireland (1879), Wales (1880), South Africa (1889) and New Zealand (1892). Of the original clubs which took part in the very first club competition of 1874, Sydney University, Balmain (now called Drummoyne), Newington College and The King's School are still in existence.

By 1880, the NSWRU (SRU) controlled in excess of 100 clubs in the metropolitan area and in country NSW, with the senior body, the NSWRU, administering the game in all other areas of the State. The Glebe Club won all grades in that first year.

In 1882, the first NSW team was assembled to play Queensland in a two-match series. NSW won both matches. Later that year, the first NSW touring team was assembled to travel to New Zealand.

During the First World War of 1914-18, both the NSW and Queensland Rugby Unions ceased senior competitions for patriotic reasons and 80% of all NSWRU grade players enlisted. At Gallipoli and on the Somme, many were killed, including Major James MacManamey the President of the NSWRU (1915 Gallipoli).

The 1930s were a golden age for NSW Rugby, peaking with the defeat of the previously unbeaten Springboks in 1937. NSWRU teams also performed strongly through the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s thanks to the emergence of many stars of the game.

In 1963 the Sydney Rugby Union was formed to administer the growth of the game in the city and eventually in the 1990s, the NSW Waratahs entered the Super Six, Super Ten and Super 12 competitions. Country Rugby continued to flourish, NSW Schools Rugby was a key source of representative players, NSW Suburban Rugby provided the means by which Rugby enthusiasts express their keen desire to play and enjoy the game and NSW Women's Rugby experienced great popularity.

 

Suburban Rugby Cups - Division 3

"The Harris Shield" has been presented to the Division Three Club Champions since 1995 and named after Kings' Old Boys stalwart Keith "Doc" Harris.

Grade Cup History *

1st

Clark

In 1972 the Clark Cup was presented to the union by Bob Clark, a foundation member of the Briars Club and also a past secretary and life member of the MSDRU. Originally contested by teams in the "B" group of third division, then in 1975, the "B" group of fourth division. Since 1995, after restructurring the various divisions, the Clark Cup has been the premier award in third division.

2nd

Farrant

A long time supporter of sub-district rugby, Hunters Hill club stalwart Don Farrant presented the Farrant Cup to the MSDRU in 1974. Initially included in an expanded fourth division, it became the award for the Division Three second grade premiership in 1995.

3rd

Campbell

Added to the Clark and Farrant Cups in the 1995 restructuring of third division, this cup was presented in memory of Colin Campbell for the third grade premiership.

4th

Nicholson

This cup, named after former Ku-ring-gai President John Nicholson, has been awarded to the third division fourth grade premiers since 1995.

 

Suburban Rugby Cups - Division 2

"The Reliance Club Shield" was presented to the the SSDRU in 1983 for the Division Two Club Champions, by surviving members of the Reliance Club of Ashfield.

Grade Cup History *

1st

Barraclough

John Barraclough and H.H Barraclough presented this cup to the MSDRU in 1969 for a new one team competition that arose with the rapid increase of clubs at the time. In 1971, following a restructuring of sub-district rugby competitions, the Barraclough Cup headed the new sub-district second division, and continues to this day.

2nd

Stockdale

Presented to the MSDRU by Ted Stockdale, a previous Secretary of the Union, in 1971, this cup was first won by AMP.

3rd

Blunt

Donated in 1971 by ARU President Charles Blunt, who was patron of the MSDRU from 1965 to 1989. The cup was first won by Manly.

4th

Richardson

Also introduced in 1971 by Denis Richardson of Sydney High Old Boys. Denis had been a past Secretary and was current chairman of the MSDRU. At the time this cup provided an extra competition for those second division clubs with extra teams, with the remainder of teams in the comp being one team clubs. By 1981, the Richardson Cup and second division was only available to four team sub-district clubs.

Colts

Robertson

Named after former Suburban Chairman (1978-80), Brian Robertson, this cup was first won by Port Hacking. After not being contested between 1988-93, the Robertson Cup was revived to become the Colts trophy for second division.

 

Suburban Rugby Cups - Division 1

Between 1921 and 1928 the Kentwell Cup premier team played the district reserve grade premier for the second grade premiership. In 1927, the Chatswood rugby club donated the Bruce Graham Shield for the winner of that contest. Since 1948, the Bruce Graham shield has been presented to the Division One Club Champions.

Grade Cup History *

1st

Kentwell

Since inception in 1923, the Kentwell Cup has been the pinnacle of Suburban Rugby. One of Suburban's two sterling silver Cups, the Kentwell Cup has great history and value. At the beginning of the 1923 season, W.H. Kentwell, president of the Mosman Rugby Club, presented the Kentwell Cup for perpetual competition in the second grade "B" division, or what was in fact the first grade of the non-district clubs at the time. Eight teams competed and, coincidentally, it was won by Mosman, with Hunters Hill the runners-up.

2nd

Burke

The George Burke Memorial Cup was first presented by Mosman vice president Jas. A. Burke in 1924. It was won by Mosman in its inaugural year.

3rd

Widdon

In 1933, Horace Whiddon presented the H.W. Whiddon Cup to the newly formed Metropolitan Sub-District Rugby Union (MSDRU) for the third grade sub-district competition.

4th

Judd

In 1961 Harold Judd, patron of the North Cronulla Life Savers, presented to the MSDRU a new H.A. Judd Cup which became the fourth grade competition of the sub-district first division.

Colts

Barbour

Under 21 Colts in Division One have contetsted the Barbour Cup, named after former suburban administrator David Barbour, since 1990. The Barbour Cup was included in the Division One Club Championship in 1996.

 

* Cup histories courtesy of "The Game for the Game Itself - The History of Sub-District Rugby in Sydney"

In The Game for the Game Itself: The History of Sub-District Rugby in Sydney, respected sports historians Thomas Hickie and Anthony Hughes chronicle the development of the New South Wales Suburban Rugby Union. From the early union of teams into a club competition in 1901, through the bitter split into Rugby League and the terrible impact of the war years and the Great Depression, to the many intrigues that continue to this day and the impact of professionalism on Subbies. This is a riveting insight into the clubs that have been forged by people with common ideals and a celebration of all those in Subbies Rugby who revel in "the game for the game itself".