"The Rugby Football Club, inaugurated this season, has made steady progress. A list of fixtures has been arranged and the club have made a very promising start winning three matches out of four."
The words in the December 1919 issue of The Gongster, documenting the first steps of the Rugby Club a century ago. Since then thousands of students have worn the Green and Gold, producing blood, sweat and tears. As the centenary season takes place we look back over the history of the club through the eyes of alumni who wore the shirt.
Charles Miller (Electrical Engineering, 1962)
"My last game was at Aberystwyth in UAU semi-final when we were robbed, game was 3-3 at full time and in extra time I grounded the ball.
"A Welshman fell on afterwards and the Welsh ref gave a try (looking for a result). We left a guy behind (John Eastman) who had to make his way back to Nottingham alone from wildest West Wales.
"Playing rugby continued until I was 42 and I have made some super friends throughout the UK with many notable memories – cannot beat it!
David Impey (Geography, 1960)
"Playing rugby was a big part of my career both as a player and coaching in school.
"After Nottingham I moved to Bristol, played over 70 games for them and qualified as a senior RFU coach. Rugby was my window of opportunity, especially when moving to a new area.
"My fondest experience was reaching the 1961 UAU Final, it was disappointing that we lost but I believe we were the first Nottingham side to reach the final."
Peter Greville (Geography, 1979)
"The characters in the club and the convivial post match gatherings in the old Buttery bar are still fresh in the memory even after all these years.
"There were so many highlights but right up there were tours to Amsterdam, Miami and the Bahamas and finally South Wales."
Robert Bridson (Zoology, 1988)
"It is fair to say that rugby helped secure my first job, was instrumental in my first major promotion and helped with my move to PwC. The discipline required both in terms of fitness and playing patterns, the ability to operate in a team and having faced both victory and defeat provide an invaluable basis for working life."
Martin Clark (Medicine, 1988)
"Sitting in the massive two person baths (at Twickenham) and pondering what other famous bare buttocks had graced the enamel below me, I was vividly aware of the amazing adventure we had been on. I fully recognised, given my playing mediocrity, that this would be the zenith of my playing career and I felt so glad to have been part of it."
Gareth Beese (Production and Operations Management, 1995)
"Whilst touring Canada in 1994, the squad found themselves in a large, multi-floor nightclub in St. John’s, Newfoundland, when there was an unfortunate powercut and the whole building fell into complete darkness, with its customers trapped in a nervous eery silence.
One of the Nottingham lads struck up the famous chord of “AAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!” and was soon joined in song by all 35 of the touring squad. We belted out a fabulous rendition of “Bless ‘Em All” in total darkness and were applauded by all the other night-clubbers. Needless to say, many of the lads used our newly created notoriety to good effect with the local ladies once restored power enabled disco lights, music and Labatt’s Maximum Ice to continue."
Tom George (Economics, 2007)
"I feel very lucky that my time at Nottingham University Rugby Club coincided with friends I will have for life, a strong 1st XV and a coach who we would run to the end of the world for, in Craig Hammond.
"It is a reflection of how close the union was amongst the lads at Nottingham, that we are now ushers at each other’s weddings and godparents to each other’s children."
Laura Jenkins (Law, 2005)
"I did not have the easiest first year at university and without the welcoming, supportive and cross course, halls and year women’s rugby squad, I’m not sure I would have survived. I would certainly have had a very different time!
"The biggest influence university rugby has had on my life was meeting my now husband on a shared men’s and women’s rugby trip to play Durham…there are not many couples that have been together for 15 years having met on a rugby bus!"
Lindsay Varty (French Studies, 2010)
"Rugby girls at Nottingham were amazing- all sorts of people from different countries, unicourses, and backgrounds but all with a love of the game. Wednesday night rugby socials were always the highlight of the week.
"I’ve never had so much fun dressed in a bin bag and covered in milk. My favourite thing about rugby girls is that we don’t care what we look like on nights out. It’s zero vanity, pure fun."
Rory Leadbetter (Psychology, 2014)
"When I look back at university life there is no doubt that my fondest memories come from my time in the rugby club at Nottingham - the team bus back after away matches, the bonding with older and younger boys you’d never get a chance to meet otherwise and, of course, those wins you experience together.
"Rugby at university gave me self-belief, without which I certainly would not have gone for the position of President or even considered the fact that I could take my ability to manage and present to the world of teaching. I also learnt a huge amount from the coaches we came across – how to communicate, how to give everyone in the team and voice and, crucially, how to imbed a sense of community. I’ve not experienced that bond in a group since leaving Nottingham and that speaks volumes."