I moved here in 1984, and was approached by the vicar of St Andrews – the reverend David Capron, who wanted to start a Rugby club and asked if I wanted to join. Together with Greville Evans , the health and safety officer of Stratford Canners (who produced canned goods) along with ex-Stratford players Andy Fairbrother and Malcolm Cowell, we made up the committee. The name of the club was soon decided – we were the ‘Shottery RFC’.
Initially our clubhouse was The Bell inn, Shottery. Pre season training for would-be club members was held at the Long Marston army camp, starting in July 1985 for commencement of the season 85/86. The seasons ran from September to the end of April. The club became a member of the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and South Warwickshire RFU and I represented the club at SWRFU meetings. Initially our home games were played at Stratford High School. We had to change grounds several times and didn’t have a permanent clubhouse – finally the council set the pitch up and we could practice in the same place every week. After having two pitches owned by the council, we eventually settled at Stratford-upon-Avon RFU clubhouse – the club’s still there to this day!
We improved as seasons went by and joined a minor Warwickshire League. But then disaster happened – several of the best players wanted to progress and so moved to a higher league. It was difficult to recruit players and the club decided to resign from the league structure and play ‘friendly’ fixtures.