Camborne RFC - Camborne RFC History

Camborne RFC History

Many original players were involved in the local tin mining industry especially at Camborne's Dolcoath mine which at that time was the deepest mine in Britain and many were employed at the local machine tool manufacturer at Holman Brothers producing mining equipment. The first Camborne RFC game was played against Penzance in front of some 600 spectators in November 1877. In 1909-10 Camborne were the top Cornish team and in the following season no other Cornish side managed to score a try against "Town" as they were then known.

When the tin mining recession hit Cornwall in the late 19th century many Camborne men and their successors were forced to emigrate to places such as South Africa, Australia and North and South America and along with their mining skills they also helped establish the game of rugby in these areas.

After the First World War in the early 1920s, rugby established a huge following in Camborne. Teams would change at a local hotel and march to the ground behind the Town band. In 1924 a crowd of 19,000 people gathered at Camborne to watch Cornwall, with no less than 7 Camborne players, take on the New Zealand 'All Blacks', and matches against local rivals, Redruth, invariably pulled in crowds of around 6,000. Captain Crawshays RFC Welsh Touring XV started to include Camborne on their fixture list in 1923. Crayshays teams were chosen from the leading clubs in Wales, and consisted of seasoned internationals and up and coming players who would usually go on to be internationals. In 1926-27, Camborne, also known as the Cherry and Whites were the top club in Cornwall and they got their first win over a Crawshay side.

With the end of the Second World War the club was back in business and John Collins made his debut for the reserves team in 1946-47 and was selected to play at full back for England in 1952. The 1950s and 60's saw many more successful teams, and Camborne became the first Cornish side in 1968 to beat Ebbw Vale in 18 Cornish tours.

The team became the most consistent and successful side in Cornwall in the 1970s, winning the Cornish league and cup in 1977-78, the league for the next 4 years running until 1982, again league champions 84-85 and 85-86, were the highest placed Cornish national league club 87-88 and 88-89, and achieved further Cornwall Cup wins in 85, 87, 90 and 1992. Giant lock Andy Reed joined the Cherry and Whites in 1987, who was later to play for the all-conquering Bath Rugby team of the nineties and represent Scotland and the British and Irish Lions. In 1989 Cornwall reached the final of the County Championship at Twickenham against Durham and were represented by nine Camborne players out of the twenty-one man squad.

More recently youth development product Josh Matavesi has gone on to represent Fiji at International level.

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