This is a slimmed-down version of the club’s history, to help the press and programme writers.
Old Elthamians RFC was founded in 1911 by the Old Boys of Eltham College.
The school moved from Blackheath to its present site in Mottingham, SE London, and provided a pitch for the old boys to use and games were played up to the outbreak of World War 1.
After the war, OEs resumed playing and got a reputation for fine handling and deadly tackling.
A permanent ground was needed and Foxbury Field, in Chislehurst, was purchased by the Old Boys Association in 1951. This stayed as the club’s home until very recently.
Although playing numbers had increased in the fifties to the point where five teams were being fielded on a Saturday, they had declined in the seventies and the club went open to admit non-school players in 1972. This resulted in OEs being able to put out six teams.
In 1974 Old Elthamians were the second club in Kent to start a mini section, and the youngsters have gone from strength to strength ever since, now numbering about 360, in every team from under 7s to under 17s.
Gavin Lach, Director of Rugby, has overseen two promotions in the last three seasons, taking the club from London One to their current position in National 2 South. Last season Old Elthamians finished runners-up to Dorking in National 3 LSE and then won the play-off against Redingensians from Nat 3 SW 17-10 to gain promotion. They also have the league’s top try scorer in Renford Bennett and the top points scorer in Tome White.
Plans have been made to move the club back down to the school’s playing fields and the juniors will start this season there. The seniors are playing at Bart’s Hospital ground (next door to Foxbury) for this season, to take residence at College Meadows at the start of the 2015-16 season.
Old Elthamians who have played at higher levels of rugby:
Andrew Sheridan played at Old Elthamians in the late 1980s and went on to play for Richmond, Bristol and Sale Sharks. He started for England after the 2003 World Cup win, but played all of the World Cup final in 2007.
Ben Ransom played all the way through from OEs under 7s, Kent and England age-groups and now plays full back for Saracens.
Sam Farmer played in the same team as Ransom and again represented Kent and England at junior levels. Sam played in the Varsity match in 2012 for Cambridge.
Max Wilkins similarly made his way through the age groups and now has a contract with Saracens.
Nick Tompkins progressed from the under 7s, represented his county and then England U20s, making the break which resulted in the final score in the IRB World Campionship win against South Africa.