In 2012 Painswick Rugby Club celebrated their 140th anniversary, making us the oldest village rugby club in the country. We are the joint oldest club in Gloucestershire, alongside Clifton RFC.
Painswick is proud of its association with Gloucester RFC, and refer to ourselves as the “Original Cherry and Whites”. In 1873 we loaned our shirts to the newly formed Gloucester RFC and since then, they, as the more famous ‘Cherry & Whites’, have achieved significant success in rugby. In the meanwhile Painswick RFC has enjoyed the camaraderie of the wonderful game of Rugby at a slightly lower level.
The moniker “Cherry and Whites” relate to the story that there was obviously no formal sportswear in those days, players wore hobnail boots and ordinary clothes, and Painswick wore cherry red sashes around their waists to distinguish themselves. The source of these sashes was the local squire, who allegedly made use of his cherry red curtains at home. His wife’s reaction is unknown.
The colours were adapted into shirts, and as mentioned, were loaned to the newly formed Gloucester RFC at their inception. On Painswick’s 130th Anniversary, Gloucester RFC kindly repaid the favour by donating a set of their Zurich Championship winning strip to the Club, following a commemorative match against former Gloucester Players – The Cherrypickers.
Back to the Clifton reference – history does not record the actual name of the person responsible for establishing the Club, but refers to the Curate who served the local Vicar. The Curate was responsible for organising the local men to form a rugby team, but not long after, was transferred to Clifton, where a club was formed soon after. Is this unknown Curate deserving of the thanks of both Painswick and Clifton RFC?
Men were made of sterner stuff in those days, one player is recorded as riding his solid tyred bicycle from Hereford to Painswick and back to play, and in the thirties, Captain St. Clair Baddeley used to run to matches, play, and then run home.
The Club has had a number of homes, the first pitch recorded was in front of the Cemetery on Painswick Hill, as well as Broad Ham, Dry Knapps off Edge Lane, and then to a more permanent home on the legendary Recreation Field. Local hostelries were used for post match celebrations until the Club obtained its first permanent home, The Pavilion on the Rec. The Clubhouse was finished in 1980 and remained the Club’s home until we moved to Broadham Fields.
Due to the efforts of the late E.J. (Ted) O’Neill and Dr Jim Hoyland, and a willing committee of helpers, a plot of land was purchased at Broadham Fields, the Clubs current home. Those of us old enough to remember playing on the Rec, with its legendary side slope, welcomed the opportunity to play on the relatively horizontal surface of Broadham.
With the aid of a National Lottery grant, and other sources of funding, a clubhouse was completed and opened in 1997. The vision of Ted and his helpers also allowed the Club to share facilities with the Cricket and Hockey Clubs, and lease land to the thriving Tennis Club who now have 6 floodlit courts.
Painswick Cricket Club have always had strong ties to the Rugby Club, and use Broadham during the summer months, ensuring there is a year round availability of quality sport at the Club. Sadly, league hockey now has to be played on artificial surfaces, so the Hockey Club now only play the occasional friendlies at Broadham, but still use the Clubhouse as their home.
The Club has gained recognition twice on the national stage, sadly being beaten semi-finalists in the Junior Vase knock-out cup in 1997 to Crewe & Nantwich and in 2011 to the Honourable Artillery Company. On both occasions, the Club made many friends on the trips to other parts of the country.
All of the sports Clubs have grown in strength since the move to Broadham, each with thriving junior sections. The real strength of the club is demonstrated in the comradeship of those who play or have played their rugby at Broadham Fields. We start building this team spirit at an early stage with our Mini/Junior section and this leads to many of these young players finding their way into the United and 1st XV. Currently former players are representing National sides, such as Birmingham, Moseley, Stourport, Rugby and Worcester.
The most decorated ex-player is Tim Payne who played as a Loose Head Prop. After leaving Painswick RFC, he went on to play Senior Rugby at Coventry, Bristol and Cardiff, before finally settling at Wasps, where he won the Heineken Cup and three Guinness Premiership titles. Tim has now had to retire due to a neck injury but during his during his playing career he was capped 22 times for England, making his debut in 2004 for the Summer Tour to Australia while he also played for the 2009 British & Irish Lions against the Emerging Springboks.