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Club History

The History of Sutton & Epsom RFC – Founded in 1881
Jeff Hume – 12/01/2004 (updated 01/02/2011)

Picture this. It’s the early 1870’s and our British Empire is at its height. Queen Victoria has at long last returned from her mourning at Balmoral. Sutton is no longer a small thinly spread village straddling the London – Brighton turnpike road. Since Thomas Alcock became the lord of the manor, he has proved to be a shrewd property developer. Sutton’s population, having leapfrogged Carshalton in the 1850’s, has doubled to 6,600 in the last decade. The town is now served not only by the Croydon – Epsom railway but by new lines to Epsom Downs and Mitcham Junction. The economy is booming and it is a time of great social change. Parliament has committed England to compulsory education. The weekend now starts at Saturday lunchtime, generating an enormous public demand to be amused on Saturday afternoons. Public hangings have only just been stopped, as have deportations of convicts to Australia. William Webb-Ellis is on his last legs. Rugby Football is a game played with 20 a side and without the distraction of having a referee.

It is at this point that a few intrepid souls, such as Arthur Jackson, the Burrows brothers and James Spencer introduced the sport to Sutton, forming a Club which used the Cock Hotel as their changing room and played on a ground in Western Road. Alcock’s 1873 Football Annual records that in their first season, 1871/2, the Club boasted 55 members and played 21 matches, winning slighty more than they lost of these in terms of goals (i.e. converted tries). We also know that they played against Streatham in 1872/3. We cannot tell why but this Club disbanded after only a few years.

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