A HISTORY OF BICESTER RUGBY CLUB
Bicester Rugby Club came into being after a conversation between Ken Herman and Roger Smith over a pint of beer in the White Hart pub towards the end of 1947.
The inaugural meeting of the club took place in the Fox Inn on 25th March 1948. Present were Lawrence Lane, Major Malins, Bill Nicholson, Ken Herman and others. Reg Simms was elected chairman with Vernie Malins president. Ken Herman was the first captain and Charles Duke, a deputy bank manager, was, appropriately, treasurer.
The first game was played on Wednesday evening, 19th April, against a combined Army and Air Force XV. In those early years Bicester were often short of good players in the early years and were indebted to both the Army and Air force, who supplied most of the players, whilst the club recruited also from the local farming community and grammar school. The old Bicester Grammar School colours of red, amber and brown were adopted by the club and are still used to this day.
The first headquarters were at the KingÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Arms, where proprietor Jack Ansell provided a converted stable building with changing rooms and showers.
One of the earliest highlights was to reach the final of the Oxfordshire Open Sevens in 1954. Victorious over Middlesex side Old Paulines in the semi-final, Bicester lost to Moseley 10-3 in the final. Also, Lawrence Nash, Pickford, Harrington and Herman all had the honour of representing Oxfordshire during the 1950s.
Throughout the 1960s players used to assemble for away matches on the Market Square and when they played at home various wives used to share the cooking in the wooden hut at Oxford Road. The current club house building, which has recently been renovated, opened in 1969.
When Haydon Morgan of the famous London Welsh Club was doing his National Service, he asked if he might play for Bicester. Selected to play against Oxford Marathons for the second XV, he wore skipper Ken HaddockÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s shirt and scored two tries.
He once played for Bicester and Wales on successive Saturdays. Two years after his selection for Bicester second XV, he was playing for the British Lions! Selection policy at Bicester was obviously a lot tougher in those days.
Dick Makepeace, the current Chairman was appointed captain of Bicester 1st XV for the 1969/70 season, when the new clubhouse was opened. The silver jubilee was marked by a special match against an International XV who included Dickie Jeeps, Hayden Morgan and Geoffrey Windsor-Lewis.