Louth R.U.F.C. can trace its roots to before WW2. Whilst it s known that Louth had a rugby club prior to the war little is known of its history. It was, however, resurrected in November 1946 by Bernard Smith when he arrived in the area. Assisted initially by 5 members of Grimsby RUFC the club found a home in a field at Louth Field Farm, Grimsby Road then owned by Herbert Fricke. Indeed so welcoming were the Fricke family that parts of their home became the changing facilities and Winifred Fricke baked tea for all.
1947-48 saw the Grimsby players drawn back to their own fold. Further facilities were offered by RAF Manby which not only saw the newly reformed club move home but also brought additional enthusiastic and much needed players to bolster the numbers and ensure that the club not only played a full fixture list but did so without defeat!
Whilst the club continued to enjoy the hospitality of the RAF base, changes there meant fewer and fewer players came from the Service and by the beginning of 1952 they were desperately struggling for numbers……
MARKET RASEN RUFC
Whilst the modern day club's current home rests alongside the town's secondary school, De Aston, the ties between club and school stretch right back to the beginning. Following his appointment to the staff at the school in September 1948 a young Bill Harries sought, and obtained, permission from the headmaster to teach the boys the artful game of “Rugger” and so rugby returned to the town of Market Rasen having been absent from the school since the early twenties.
Easter 1949 saw the emerging talent needing proper competition so support was sought from the town and a side of mixed rugby experience came forward to provide the school with opposition. The result of the game cannot be recalled but the result of the experience left indelible impressions on those whose joys for the game had been rekindled. As the school entered regular fixtures during 1949-50 it was felt that the boys playing rugby should have an opportunity to play beyond their schooling years and that, also, the match against the town had shown that there was likely to be sufficient interest in the town to form a rugby club.
On Wednesday 8 th February 1950 , with V. J. Lucas in the chair, a meeting was called at The Gordon Arms to float the idea. Twenty two people were present and following agreement on a constitution and the club's colours Market Rasen RUFC was born on March 9 th 1950 .
The early days saw the club based at the town's race course. Following a shaky financial start the Legsby Road Sports Club was founded. Its aims were as a club for sports clubs using the race course - in the hope that bar profits, social gatherings and fund raising would ensure financial security. At this point the security of playing numbers was being provided, much as in Louth RUFC's case, by the Services in the shape of RAF Binbrook.By the beginning of 1952, with numbers from RAF Binbrook falling, Market Rasen faced the same problems as Louth ….not enough players!!
MARKET RASEN & LOUTH RUFC
Minutes from a committee meeting at Market Rasen on January 29th 1952 show the desperate position that both clubs had reached and the effect that weak sides were having on match results. Meetings between the clubs took place in February and March of the same year and on March 5th 1952 the two clubs became Market Rasen and Louth RUFC. The club adopted Market Rasen as its home maintaining the colours from Market Rasen (much to A S Holt’s dissatisfaction!) but adding the badge of Louth as its emblem. Hence, the roots of the club as it is today were formed.
Whilst starting by mainly playing the “A” teams from other clubs MR&L RUFC quickly became a force in county rugby and has represented both County and Three Counties (NLD) at all levels both on and off the field. In April 2005 Martyn Thomas, earstwhile player, coach, chairman and mentor to many was elected to chair the management board of the club’s governing body – the English RFU. Great oaks from little acorns grow!
Having used the racecourse’s buildings for changing rooms, showers and teas, the club opened its own club house – a sectional hut affair - in the car park of the course in 1965. The official opening ceremony on March 27th 1966 saw an international XV captained by Mike Weston (British Lions and England) play against a club invitational side.
1980 saw another significant development in the club’s history when it purchased 2 paddocks on Willingham Road – one from the church and one from a Mrs Nettleship – and transformed them into the pitches and club house used today in order to provide a permanent home dedicated to the celebration of rugby football union. The ensuing years has seen the club doing much celebrating whilst priding itself on the friendly atmosphere and inviting welcome open to members, opponents and visitors alike. It continues to provide a home to the sport for much of the Lincolnshire Wolds and beyond with players coming from all our local towns including Market Rasen, Louth, Caistor and Horncastle.