A bit about the Vikings…
To get involved, email Andrew Lee at Andrew.M.Lee@hotmail.co.uk.
The Rydal Vikings Club was officially formed in 1945 with Reverend AJ Costain as the President, D Boumphrey as the Treasurer and EF Richards as the Secretary. By 1950, a group of good players was established with no fewer than seven internationals, five blues and 17 county players. Jim Parsons and RE Bibby were experienced England international players; RA Pinnington and JA Gregory were amongst the fastest wingers in the UK and Bleddyn Williams, the brilliant Welsh international, played in the centre with AD Morphy who was also an outstanding player. Three members of Common Room played regularly for the Vikings: Donald Crook, John Pepper and David Pollard. Teams consisted of a mixture of Old Rydalians, staff, members of the School XV and occasional guest players.
The most memorable game was in 1951 when, thanks to Bleddyn Williams, a Cardiff XV played a match against the Vikings on New Field , winning 13-17.
Birkenhead Park, Wilmslow, Liverpool University, Old Wallaseyians and North Wales were regular opponents and in the late 50s and early 1960s D Diamond, AD Johnson, IA Stewart, KRF Bearne (Scotland), CR Jennins (England), TS Fletcher, TV Vincent, DR Williams and TL Williams were the outstanding players but because of changing social and employment practices it became increasingly difficult to raise sides even midweek.
In 1963, there was a good 19-9 win against North Wales. Old Wallaseyians won 10-9 in 1965. In 1966 the Vikings could not raise a good enough side and there was a two-year break. In 1969 a revitalised North Wales won 19-14. Between 1946 and 1970 the Club’s record was played 29, won 21, lost 5, drawn 3. Then for the decade of the 1970s, the Vikings remained moribund.
In 1984, Bleddyn Williams was appointed President with PN McLaren as Secretary and D Pollard as Treasurer. The match against Waterloo in 1984 was lost 37-15. In 1985, there was a delightful Centenary game against a South Wales team assembled by Bleddyn Williams and in 1987 Gary Williams and Mike Leach stood out in a 21-30 defeat against the Anti Assassins. In 1997, a game was arranged against a very competitive Gwynedd XV which was lost 46-35 on New Field with some very exciting rugby played. Also in 1997 a new fixture against Old Ellesmerians was won 40-19 in November.
The Vikings have played a Waterloo XV, Old Ellesmerians, the Anti Assassins, Colwyn Bay XV and in the 2009/10 season, two matches against Gogledd Cymru (formerly North Wales Rugby Club). The first match against Gogledd at New Field on 20 September was won by the Vikings 33-22 and second match on 27 December 2009, at Colwyn Bay RFC for the Bleddyn Williams Cup, was won by Gogledd 29-5.
In recent years there have been fewer fixtures, however we are keen to bring the Vikings out of hibernation in 2016. Could you join them?
There are two possible dates – Sunday 18 September (Founders’ Weekend) or Saturday 26 December. The matches will follow a “Masters” laws format – uncontested scrums, no pushing in lineouts, 15m max run with the ball before passing, rolling subs and a few other minor changes, which will hopefully open the fixture up to a much wider range of people. The aim is to field two Vikings teams. If you would like to get involved, please contact Andrew Lee at Andrew.M.Lee@hotmail.co.uk.