Rugby

Rugby football was played in Highbridge between February 1885 and November 1896.  During its lifetime the club appears to have had two headquarters, one being the “George Hotel” the other the “Railway Hotel” on the Town Square.

Games in1887 took place in the Burnham area but home games mainly took place in Highbridge at various venues including Walrow and Bristol Road, also on the outskirts of the town, land offered at Huntspill and near Mark.  The underfoot conditions of many of these grounds were appalling, sodden conditions, pools of water in groynes (gullies) and of course games were cancelled when conditions made the pitches rock hard under severe frosts, remembering that pitches were not immaculately prepared grounds but simply farmers fields.

Teams visiting during the clubs lifetime would have included – Bridgwater 2nd XI, Wells, Westward (Taunton), Shepton Mallet, Weston-super-Mare “A” and Bath plus many others.  Social activities were organised by the club, during 1892 to 1895 a regular event was a Rugby Ball held at the Town Hall, an annual dinner was also well attended at the end of each season.  In 1895 a smoking concert (a convivial evening) was held at the “Railway Hotel” for members and friends of the club.

In 1892/93 season, Highbridge played a team at Huntspill, a match organised for the newly inaugurated Huntspill Rugby Football Club.

November 1896, rumours of discord were rife amongst the Highbridge Rugby men and it was considered doubtful whether the team would again appear in public, this appears to have happened and the club dissolved.  The club did surface again briefly in 1898, under the name of “Highbridge Veterans”.

One very interesting item that was found in the records was that during the very hard winter of 1890/91, in fact, people skated from Highbridge to Bason Bridge along the frozen River Brue.

(These extracts were taken from a publication of Highbridge Football Club (Rugby) –1885 – 1896. Compiled by the late Herbert Howell in 1991)

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