Fugee’s Froback: The task of getting Rugby back at Beacon Park after WWII

February 13, 2024
February 13, 2024 Albion

Life might have been tough in the post-war austerity years of the late 1940s, but Plymouth was busy rebuilding after the devastation of Luftwaffe raids.

Among those recovering was Plymouth Albion RFC whose Supporters showed characteristic dedication to ensure the Club would be “up and running” in time for the start of the 1946-47 season.

The first Fixture would be played on 7 September 1946, when Cardiff would be the visitors to Beacon Park – the Welsh side taking a 9-3 win. In total there would be 37 fixtures, among them old friends such as Swansea, Leicester, Bedford, Bristol and Newport, as well as leading Devon and Cornwall Clubs.

The help Albion received from its supporters enabled the Club to also field a second XV, known as United, and a Junior’s XV. A Season Ticket for a Seat in the Wing-Stand cost £1.10s.0d (£1.50 in today’s money.)

As the ‘50s approached the organisation was in full swing and a full fixture list for the 1st XV, United and Albion Juniors was maintained and developed. As the seasons progressed so did the playing records improve. In the ‘51-52 campaign, the first team won 16 of the 39 games they played, losing 19 and drawing four while scoring 220 points and shipping 364. Three years later, they took victory in 22 of their 36 fixtures, losing just 11 and drawing three. They recorded a total of 390 points for that season, with 222 conceded.

In 1955-56, they won 20 of their 36, losing 14 and drawing two. They managed 400 points that season, and had 235 scored against them.

The United side also enjoyed success. They won 24 of their 35 games in 1951-52, losing five and drawing six, with a record of 407 points for and 106 against. Not to be outdone were Albion Juniors, who won 23 of their 26 games, scoring 388 points and conceding just 39 – yes correct, just 39.

Juniors of this period included Peter Luffman, Bob Luffman, Gerry Dyer, Derek Holdsworth, Clive Cross, to name a few, many would go on to make their names in future Senior sides.

In the first XV’s of the period were players like Toby Irish, Roger Hosen who went on to be Capped by England on 25 May 1963, against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland. England lost 21-11. Nine of those points were scored by Hosen, who grabbed a conversion and two penalties. At the time he was playing for Northampton RFC, and went on to gain 10 Caps alongside Les Semmens, Len Gibbs, Frank Warne and Ray Ellis.

As the Seasons progressed other names came to the fore – Ed Southern, Nick Southern, Arthur McLean, Dave Sweett, Brian McGrath, Mervyn Hosking, Ron Glazsher, Chris Uren, Gerry Holmes, Ray Roach, Vernon Pinches, Brian Spiller, and Eddie Hall.