MIDHURST Rugby Club host a celebration of their 30th anniversary this weekend.
And fittingly, it comes as the club’s first XV have another reason to be cheerful – they’ve just won promotion.
The 30-year celebrations begins with a junior prizegiving tomorrow evening followed by music. On Saturday afternoon a senior XV will play a friendly against Plumpton and in the evening the club host their annual dinner with entertainment from The Cheese Doctors and dancing to the 20th Century Roadshow.
Club secretary Simon Flint recalled some highlights from the club’s first three decades.
“The first rustle of a rugby club was heard in early 1981. The die was cast and by May 1981, Midhurst RFC was founded, playing the first game in September. Many of the founders are still actively supporting the club,” he said.
“Throughout the 1980s the club established itself. It was elected a member of the RFU in 1983 and soon after, started playing in the Sussex Leagues. The club started a 20-year exchange with twin town Nogent Le Rotrou which ended because of Nogent’s end-of-season commitments.
“In 1992, Midhurst added a junior section. We now have sides from under-seven through to under-16. More than half the players in today’s senior team have graduated from the junior ranks. With a steady stream of youngsters coming through, Midhurst plan a second XV next season.
“Midhurst rugby started to gain momentum and since 2000 we have won the Sussex Plate twice, the under-15 Cup and the under-16 league.
“We judge ourselves as much on our role in the community as on the pitch. So it’s with great pleasure we boast more than 100 junior members and 60 seniors.
“Sticking to values of friendship, sportsmanship and openness, Midhurst are alive and kicking 30 years after our founding. Not only are we celebrating a historic milestone but we’re champions of Sussex division two for the first time.
“For members the club is an integral part of their lives, offering boys, girls, men and women teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline and sportsmanship. For this we’re grateful to the founders and a stream of volunteers and sponsors.”
RUGBY n Page 41