Club History

The “Blood & Sand” were formed in 1923.  See an article from the 1925 Cambridge Rugger Review which chronicles the Club’s formation.

The Club now competes in the Championship, the second tier of English rugby, having gained promotion after the 2022-23 season, making it the leading club in the Eastern Counties region.  We play our home matches at the 2,000 capacity Grantchester Road ground “Volac Park”, in the suburb of Newnham, approximately 1-mile south-west of the city centre.

The Club runs three senior men’s squads: the Championship squad, a development squad, and a social squad (the “Exiles”). The Club have also just introduced a Women’s team.  At junior level the club runs one of the country’s oldest mini and youth rugby sections, starting in the early 1970s, with a Colts team for under-18s, and 4 girls teams (the “Rubies”).

A number of our players, we are proud to report, have gone on to gain International Rugby honours, being Dickie Jeeps (England and British Lions), Andy Hancock (England), Bob Steven (Scotland), Trefor Evans (Wales), Ben Spencer (England) and Alex Goode (England) who played all of his junior rugby at Grantchester Road.

CAPTAINS, PRESIDENTS AND CHAIRMEN

Year Captain President Chair
2023 G.Bretag-Norris R.C.Dean T.W.Hague
2020-22 G.Bretag-Norris J.Jeffrey R.C.Dean
2019 G.Bretag-Norris S.Bowller R.C.Dean
2017-18 M.Ayrton, E.Griffiths S.Bowller R.C.Dean
2016 S.Liebenberg S.Bowller R.C.Dean
2015 S.Liebenberg A.Banks M.I.Watson
2014 S.Liebenberg A.Banks J.Jeffrey
2013 R.Kevan A.Banks J.Jeffrey
2012 G.McComb A.Banks J.Jeffrey
2011 D.Fox, G.McComb A.Banks S.Bowller
2010 D.Fox A.Banks S.Bowller
2009 D.Fox J.Otter I.Wilson
2008 D.Fox R.Bishop I.Wilson
2007 J.Ross R.Bishop J.F.G.Otter
2006 D.Remnant R.Bishop J.F.G.Otter
2003-05 S.T.Bell R.Bishop H.S.Kirk
2002 G.D.Stubbings R.Bishop A.Smith
2000-01 D.S.Messenger R.Bishop H.J.Fear
1999 M.I.Rennell R.Bishop H.J.Fear
1998 M.I.Rennell J.F.Ashley H.J.Fear
1997 A.R.Atkinson J.F.Ashley H.J.Fear
1996 D.J.Brain J.F.Ashley M.I.Watson
1995 D.M.Tanner J.F.Ashley M.I.Watson
1994 R.J.Doel J.F.Ashley M.I.Watson
1993 S.Gadsby J.F.Ashley M.I.Watson
1991-92 C.I.Jackson J.F.Ashley M.I.Watson
1989-90 K.Isbister J.F.Ashley P.J.Harvey
1988 K.Isbister J.F.Ashley D.R.Beck
1987 S.T.Gibbons R.E.G Jeeps CBE D.R.Beck
1986 S.T.Gibbons J.A.Laurie D.R.Beck
1985 T.W.Hague J.A.Laurie P.T.Corker
1984 D.R.Beck J.A.Laurie P.T.Corker
1983 A.D.Lee J.A.Laurie P.T.Corker
1982 A.D.Lee J.A.Laurie J.H.Archer
1981 S.J.Wilson J.A.Laurie J.H.Archer
1980 D.H.Howell J.A.Laurie J.H.Archer
1979 S.C.Tennant J.A.Laurie M.P.Schofield
1978 J.F.G.Otter J.A.Laurie  
1976-77 C.M.Kidman J.A.Laurie  
1975 E.H.Goulding J.A.Laurie  
1973-74 C.M.Kidman G.T.Rolfe  
1972 S.Aitken G.T.Rolfe  
1971 K.D.Mellor K.S.Few  
1970 S.M.McDouall K.S.Few  
1969 A.V.Bevan K.S.Few  
1968 J.W.Thompson K.S.Few  
1967 P.A.Goodman W.J.R.Jarvis  
1966-65 R.Steven W.J.R.Jarvis  
1964 S.F.B.Lowe F.C.Stiles  
1963 D.C.Shelbourne F.C.Stiles  
1962 R.E.G Jeeps F.C.Stiles  
1961 A.W.Hancock F.C.Stiles  
1960 G.E.Kitt F.C.Stiles  
1959 J.R.McBain Allan F.C.Stiles  
1956-58 J.B.Stiles F.C.Stiles  
1954-55 D.G.W.Pettitt F.C.Stiles  
1953 K.B.Naylor F.H.A.Thoday  
1952 K.A.N.Spray F.H.A.Thoday  
1951 R.A.Fison F.H.A.Thoday  
1949-50 R.A.Fison B.J.Matthew  
1947-48 E.J.Hawkins K.K.Bailey  
1946 J.A.Laurie K.K.Bailey  
1945 I.N.Reynolds DR.H.L.H.H.Green  
1944-39 ~~~ war ~~~    
1938 I.N.Reynolds DR.H.L.H.H.Green  
1937 E.G.Davies DR.H.L.H.H.Green  
1936 W.J.R.Jarvis DR.H.L.H.H.Green  
1935 A.W.Hunt Dr.H.Richards  
1934 P.T.Howard S.A.Wight  
1933 T.N.B.Barker S.A.Wight  
1932 F.C.Stiles H.G.Comber  
1931 C.G.Engelmann H.G.Comber  
1930 J.H.Elliott H.G.Comber  
1928-29 M.N.Bradford H.G.Comber  
1927 K.R.J.Saxon H.G.Comber  
1926 B.J.Matthew H.G.Comber  
1925 W.Duncan Jones H.G.Comber  
1924 F.A.H.Thoday H.G.Comber F.D.S.Lodge
1923 Rev.H.K.P.Smith H.B.Bailey B.J.Matthew

INTERNATIONAL PLAYING HONOURS

We are proud to list the names of players who have played at CRUFC and then gone on to represent their country or appear in the Varsity match.

Year Player Team
2020 G.Furbank England
2018 A.Rayment England Counties U20
2018 B.Spencer England
2018 F.Dingwall England U20
2018 M.Hema England Counties
2018 R.Conquest England Counties
2017 A.Coles England U18
2017 A.Portsmouth England Counties
2017 D.Seal England Counties
2017 F.Dingwall England U18
2016 A.Coles England U16
2016 A.Portsmouth England Counties
2016 B.Daynes England Counties
2016 D.Seal England Counties
2016 F.Dingwall Scotland U18
2016 J.Stokes England Counties
2015 A.Gregory Scotland U18B
2015 A.Portsmouth England Counties
2015 B.Penfold England Counties U20
2015 F.Dingwall Scotland U16
2015 L.Bodrozic Serbia U18
2014 A.Gregory Scotland U16
2014 B.Penfold England Counties U20
2014 J.Daly England Counties U20
2014 J.F.Robinson England Counties
2014 J.F.Robinson England Counties U20
2014 J.Shanahan Barbarians
2014 J.Wigglesworth England Counties
2014 L.Fielden England 7s
2014 M.Wolfenden Zimbabwe
2014 R.Headington England Colleges U18
2014 S.Harry England Counties U20
2014 T.Powell England 7s
2013 G.Baxter England Counties U20
2013 J.Wigglesworth England Counties
2013 J.Wigglesworth England Counties U20
2013 L.Fielden England 7s
2013 M.Wolfenden Zimbabwe
2013 S.Hipwell England Counties
2013 T.Fidler England Counties
2013 T.Powell England 7s
2012 A.Goode England
2012 DlR.Veenendaal England Counties U20
2012 T.Powell England 7s
2012 W.Hooley England U20
2011 B.Spencer England U20
2011 D.Mugford England Counties
2011 T.Wheatcroft England Counties
2010-11 T.Powell England 7s
2010 T.Powell England Counties
2009 J.Shanahan Barbarians
2005 A.Goode England U18
2002 M.J.W.Miles Wales A U21
2002 R.H.White USA U19
2001 M.J.W.Miles Wales A U21
2001 R.H.White USA U19
1999 D.E.M.Jones England A U16
1999 D.W.Dalrimple England Clubs U18
1999 H.M.D.Whitford England Students
1998 S.K.Rodgers Cambridge Blue
1997-98 H.M.D.Whitford Cambridge Blue
1996 C.R.A.Simpson Irish Students
1996 S.K.Rodgers England Students
1996 T.A.Q.Whitford England Students
1995 C.R.A.Simpson Cambridge Blue
1995 S.D.Culhane New Zealand
1995 T.A.Q.Whitford Cambridge Blue
1990 C.R.A.Simpson England U18
1989 J.D.Motts England U16
1986 T.O.White England U16
1975 T.Evans Wales
1966 A.W.Hancock England
1965 A.W.Hancock England
1962 R.Steven Scotland
1959-62 Dicky Jeeps England Captain
1956-58 Dicky Jeeps England

Ellgia Fields

CRUFC was settled in its current ground on Grantchester Road by the 1950s. In 1993 the Club was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to buy the lease on its existing three pitches and to buy adjoining land for a further three pitches from King’s College.

Floodlights were added to one of these pitches in 2003 so that evening games might be played and the light available for training was improved beyond recognition.

2005 saw a brand-new clubhouse rise above the old to accommodate our growing support and rising sponsorship; two years on and a 200-seat grandstand was added to the front of the clubhouse to give one of the most attractive rugby venues in the National Leagues.  Our upstairs suite regularly seats 180 for pre 1st XV match lunches, and we have on occasion boosted this to 240 with downstairs seating.

In 2017 we completed renovations of our training rooms adding 4 changing rooms, a dedicated referees room, offices, gym and physio rooms giving a facility to lead us into our 2nd century of rugby.

Cambridge Rugby Pitches

Mini & Youth

Mini and Youth Rugby was started at Cambridge in January 1975, the first club in the Eastern Counties to take up this new and exciting challenge. From the initial 60 boys who turned out on that first morning, it rapidly expanded to over 350 players in 12 age groups from U7s to Colts, a participation level which is maintained to this day. We have also added girls’ rugby at U13, U15 and U18 in recent years.

The basis of the coaching is built upon ex-players, and parents with regular input from current first team players and coaches. This involvement of a new population of rugby enthusiasts has not only fed players through, but also provided stability and personnel to the club committees at all levels; 3 recent Club Chairmen and a Club President have come from the ranks of the Mini & Youth parents. During the past 30+ years, countless players who cut their rugby teeth at Grantchester Road have gone on to play for senior clubs throughout the world, and we are proud that our own National Squad includes several players who started in our Mini and Youth Section.

Men’s 1st XV

For a summary of the mens 1st XV progression through the leagues over the last 25+ seasons click here.

We have individual playing records going back to 1975.  Here are the players with the most appearances and tries since then.  Current squad players are highlighted.

Centurions

Player Appearances Seasons
Shaun Gadsby 505 1982-2004
Chris Harvey 412 1982-2002
Darren Messenger 383 1987-2004
Eamonn Lally 302 1981-2002
Tim Smith 263 1987-2004
Dave Beck 252 1975-1990
Tim Hague 228 1982-1997
Mike Ayrton 217 2010-2019
Russell Doel 209 1989-2004
David Howell 195 1976-1990
Paul Cox 191 1977-1988
Stuart Gibbons 178 1975-1992
Ian Whitby 178 1989-1998
Grant Barker 174 1978-1989
Eric Goulding 174 1975-1987
George Bretag-Norris 171 2015-2023
Charlie Kidman 171 1975-1982
Albert Portsmouth 162 2011-2018
Mial Walker 160 1989-2002
Dave Brain 159 1993-2001
Andy Lee 156 1979-1986
Charlie Tennant 148 1975-1986
Gareth Baxter 146 2009-2023
Gwyn Stubbings 145 1997-2004
James Ayrton 144 2012-2019
Dave Chapman 144 1984-2003
Sam Hoad 142 1998-2010
Ben Peterson 142 1994-2004
Stefan Liebenberg 141 2007-2017
Chris Jackson 138 1982-1998
Ean Griffiths 137 2012-2019
Gareth Hughes 136 1993-2003
Matt Hema 134 2016-2023
Gareth McComb 127 2009-2014
Simon Webb 126 1991-2001
Jake McCloud 125 2012-2023
Rick Mitchell 123 1986-1996
Jerry Otter 123 1975-1981
Rob Conquest 121 2012-2022
Steve Hipwell 119 2011-2019
Jack Green 119 2013-2019
Darren Fox 115 2008-2019
Chris Lombaard 115 2005-2010
James Shanahan 112 2005-2010
Tim Godson 111 1982-1986
Graham Harraway 111 1984-1993
Kenny Isbister 106 1986-1998
Ian Hamilton 104 1987-1994
Ben Penfold 104 2013-2020
Vince Turner 103 1997-2003
Dave Tanner 103 1989-1998
Rich Candlin 100 2003-2009
Danny Hunter 100 2008-2013

25+ Tries

Player Tries Seasons
Darren Messenger 111 1987-2004
Charlie Kidman 110 1975-1982
Russell Doel 102 1989-2004
Albert Portsmouth 84 2011-2018
Shaun Gadsby 82 1982-2004
Chris Lombaard 80 2005-2010
Mike Ayrton 75 2010-2019
Kwaku Asiedu 59 2018-2023
Ben Brownlie 58 2013-2023
Grant Barker 57 1978-1989
Mark Rennell 56 1997-2000
Steve Hipwell 52 2011-2019
Tim Smith 47 1987-2004
Graham Harraway 47 1984-1993
Richard Godfrey 44 1991-1995
Vince Turner 44 1997-2003
Luke Fielden 44 2003-2009
Dave Tanner 43 1989-1998
Stefan Liebenberg 42 2007-2017
Matt Hema 42 2016-2023
Kenny Isbister 40 1986-1998
Paul Hughes 39 1996-2000
James Shanahan 39 2005-2010
Eamonn Lally 37 1981-2002
Tavela Kwilimbe 36 2003-2008
James Ayrton 33 2012-2019
James Stokes 31 2013-2016
Pat Tapley 30 2011-2014
Handre Schmidt 30 2008-2010
Darren Fox 30 2008-2019
Jake McCloud 29 2012-2023
Lawrence Hutchinson 29 2015-2018
Charlie Tennant 29 1975-1986
Tim Hague 27 1982-1997
Joe Tarrant 27 2019-2023
Joe Green 27 2017-2023
Eugene Viljoen 27 1998-2001
Jim Wigglesworth 26 2013-2015

20+ Tries in a Season

Player Tries Season
Charlie Kidman 37 1975-76
Kwaku Asiedu 33 2022-23
Albert Portsmouth 31 2015-16
Handre Schmidt 28 2009-10
Charlie Kidman 28 1976-77
Ben Brownlie 28 2022-23
Ben Brownlie 27 2021-22
Luke Fielden 24 2008-09
Mark Rennell 24 1998-99
Enrico Ferri 23 1998-99
Russell Doel 22 1997-98
Graham Harraway 22 1988-89
Chris Lombaard 22 2005-06
Mike Campbell 21 2004-05
James Stokes 20 2015-16
Chris Lombaard 20 2006-07
Charlie Kidman 20 1977-78