The History behind the Club
Blandford Forum is a Georgian market town located in the heart of rural Dorset, England. It is located on the River Stour and has a population in excess of 8,700. It is some 16 miles north west of Poole, 22 miles south west of Salisbury and 16 miles north east of Dorchester.
Blandford Forum is regarded as a good example of a Georgian town as the entire centre of the town was destroyed by fire in the 1700s and as it was rebuilt the overall effect was to be uniformly Georgian. The centre piece, located in the market place, is the Corn Exchange.
Just outside the town lies Blandford Camp, the home of the Royal Corps of Signals, centre of communications for the British Army. The camp has helped provide Blandford Rugby Club with junior coaches, senior players and supporters for several years.
Blandford Rugby Club was founded in 1976 to provide rugby football for the growing number of enthusiasts in Blandford.
Initially a pub side based at the Half Moon Inn under the watchful eyes of Pat and Trevor Crawford. The Club quickly expanded and gained a reputation in the County for its hard and exciting rugby played in a friendly and fun loving atmosphere. The connection with the Half Moon has been retained by the half moon being super imposed in the Club badge. Since the closure of the pub the Club managed to retain the old barrel table and the Inn sign.
Picture circa 1976
The club has always encouraged social activities, such as the Annual Dinner Dance which has been held since the early days of the club as illustrated by the picture on the left.
Over the years other activities have evolved and in particular an emphasis on charity fundraising events being incorporated into the social calrendar, these ranging from raggy dolls matches setting the boys against the girls, old boys v new boys and golfing events.
These activities have ensured the fun loving nature of the club has continued over the years and many new members have been welcomed since the early days in the Half Moon Inn, helping the club grow to where it is today with a membership in excess of 200.
Don't worry, if you are not a player then social membership or becoming a VP might be just right for you.
Below is an image of one of the first photographs of the Blandford 1st XV taken during the 1977/78 season
In 1982-83 the club moved to pitches located on the Larksmead recreation ground.
The opening was captured in the photo above, those present being:
E Wilson, E Poingdestre
I Wilson, B Neave, P Fale
C Shafford, S Crocker, J Evans, J Cossins, A Ellen, T Hannen, J McNab, G Sharpley, J McCassey, M Ridout, M Chester
R Inglis, D Hancock, R Parkess, B Pay, N House, D Chester, M Kley, A Bugg, C Sturmey
P Ogdone, J Gillingham, S Manville, D Stringer, M White
Hall and Woodhouse, the brewers of Blandford St. Mary have helped the Club from the start and in 1990 the Club rented the old skittle alley of the Star Inn in East Street and turned this into a Club House. Over the years this has been altered and enlarged. More recently due to the generosity of Mr. & Mrs. Bryan Burrows the Club has obtained the freehold. The Club House was officially opened by Peter Stoop and Frany Matthews Senior Officers of North Dorset RFC who were our original sponsors for membership of RFU.
On the playing side we field two fifteens occasionally a third side and or vets team. The Club gained rapid promotion in Dorset & Wilts leagues including to Southern Counties South.
The Junior Section was first started back in the early 1990s with just a few lads, whose dads were and in some instances still are associated with the Senior Section, but its popularity has grown and we now have children from a large catchment area around Blandford. There are now over a hundred children turning out on Sunday mornings to train. They play matches against other clubs at various age levels and are doing well.
The Club has a Tug of War Team who collects an enormous number of trophies that collect dust on a shelf in the Club.
During the summer the Club puts out a crack side in the Royal Evening League Division T and are currently runners up in that league.
The Club, this provides a wealth of physical and social activities for its members and guests throughout the year.
During the mid nineties, play moved from the Larksmead recreation area to the Blandford School pitches, the players facilities were situated behind the leisure centre.
Subsequently, after significant investment in levelling pitches and providing a fully floodlit pitch, Blandford RFC moved back to Larksmead in 2014.
Dr Wilson has also written about the first 100 years of Blandford Hospital.