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Club History

When Alick Birkin returned to Nottingham from Rugby School at the age of 16 in 1877, he gathered some friends around him to form a rugby playing team.

This is generally regarded as the date of the formation of Nottingham Rugby Football Club, although the earliest reports of matches in the local press were published in 1885/86. The first minutes of an AGM date back to 1898.

NRFC history

Alick Birkin, or Sir Alexander Russell Birkin to give him his full title, maintained his active interest in the club until his death in 1942. The Birkin family "were"Nottingham RFC - members of the family being associated with the club from 1877 to 1956.

Without their commitment, the club would never have got off the ground. Indeed, the ground at Ireland Avenue, Beeston, was given to the club in 1904 by Leslie Birkin, brother of Alick. Ireland Avenue remained the club's home until its sale in 2006.

The first changing rooms were built in 1929: prior to that the players changed in the Victoria Pub. Misbehaviour, (surely not!), caused their banishment to the stables, where a single domestic bath had to cater for both teams. What would today's cosseted players have made of that?Caracatures 1944

Throughout the first 75 years of its use, the ground at Beeston was noted as a mud heap. It was part of the flood meadow of the River Trent. The high water table made it difficult to drain and the problems were exacerbated by alterations to the confluence of the Trent and the Leen. Eventually these problems were overcome and the club felt safe in spending £15,000 in drainage 20 years ago.

V.H.Cartwright (14 caps) was Nottingham's first international player between 1904 and 1906. He eventually captained England and was a referee during his playing career before becoming a selector and eventually President of the RFU. Sixty-one years later John Pallant (3 caps) became Nottingham's second international. Other international player include Dusty Hare (1-1974), Gary Rees (23-1984-91), Rob Andrew (9-1985/86), Brian Moore (25-1987-90), Chris Oti (2-1988) and Simon Hodgkinson (14-1989-91). Chris Gray had 22 caps for Scotland (1989-91). Brian Moore is the club's only British Lion, whilst playing for the club.

* Pictured above: Notts Rugby side of 1890. Pictured below: Notts Rugby side of 1935. Caricature above from Nottingham Evening News on Monday, September 27 1943.

FULL LIST OF NOTTINGHAM RUGBY PLAYERS - 1877 TO 2012 


Nottingham Rugby Honours

National Merit Table A (RFU Level 1)
Runners-up: 1985/86

National Merit Table B (RFU Level 2)
Runners-up: 1984/85

National League Division 2 (RFU Level 3)
Runners-up: 2003/04

Midland Merit TableHistory honours
Winners: 1984/85

National Knock-out Cup
Semi-final: 1983/84, 1990/91

National Knock-out Trophy
Semi-final: 2005/06, 2007/08, 2008/09

Midland Counties Senior Cup
Winners: 1905/06
Runners-up: 1904/05

Midland Counties Junior Cup
Winners: 1907/08

Middlesex Sevens
Winners: 1944/45
Runners-up: 1984/85, 1985/86

Selkirk Sevens
Winners: 1990/91

Noel Syson Cup (Notts, Lincs & Derbys Sevens)
Winners: 1935, 1936, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1955, 1959, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1980, 1981, 1983