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Liverpool City Police

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Records in the form of photographs and written requests to the Liverpool Referee's Society to provide match officials indicate the origins of police rugby on Merseyside go as far back as the 1930's and prevailed until the outbreak of World War II in 1939 and then afterwards until about 1950 when, because of lack of support, the team folded.

honours

England Youth Clubs

Jack Hughes - 1956
Roger Corker - 1957 & 1958
Roger Heath - 1958

British Police

Ron Burrows - 1963
Peter Dunn - 1974
Bill Stacey - 1975
Martin Reeves - 1982 to 1984
Sean Gallagher - 1982 to 1993
Nigel Heslop - 1983 to 1989
Geoff Carroll - 1983
Phil Dobbing - 1983 & 1984
Caredig Evans - 1983
Steve Walker - 1983
John McNally - 1985
Kevin Quinn - 1985

Combined Services

Sean Gallagher - 1988
Nigel Heslop - 1988

County

Phil Dobbing - Cheshire 1983 & 1984
Sean Gallagher - Lancs - 1985 to 1993
Nigel Heslop - 1985 to 1992
Kevin Quinn - Cheshire 1987
Graham Howard - Cheshire 1987

International - England

Nigel Heslop - 1990 to 1992

Liverpool City Police rugby team 1960-61- click to enlarge

1960 - 1961

Back Row: G. Craig, R. Burrowd, D. Morris, R. Heath, N. Vernon, M. Askam,
E. Griffiths, G. Johnston, K. Collinge, R. Lancaster

Front Row: J. Blackburne, K. Forshaw, C. Wheeler, B. Balmer, W. Collins, J. Glover, P. Moseley, R. Corker

Merseyside Police rugby team  2010-11. Click to enlarge

2010 -2011

Back Row:Alex Broadbent, Cliff Barr, Chris Thompson, Mark Scraggs, Mike Thompson,
Martin Woosey, Dave Burns, Pete Atkinson, Alex Keme, Pete Rhodes

Front Row: Mat Kerr, Mike Jardine, Gareth Howells, Simon Thompson, Chris Little (Capt.),
Don Coslett (Sponsor), John Martin (Chairman), Andy Astle

The Club have not always had a home ground to play on and certainly in the early days suffered a nomadic existence, initially sharing the ground at the Mather Avenue Police Training School with the Dog Section and the Mounted Department and later, the Liverpool Passenger Transport Ground at Dovecot with about eight Football Teams.

There were times when the Club did not even have a home pitch at all and they would travel away for each game, that is with the exception of midweek fixtures and important cup matches when, the likes of Sefton, Birkenhead Park and Liverpool Saint Helens would allow the use of their grounds. It was not until 1985 that Riversdale Road became the Club's home ground by which time, the Force had progressed through the two amalgamations in 1967 and 1974 to become Merseyside Police.

It was in the 70's consequent upon the second amalgamation, the Club were able to field a second team. This proved to be the start of a prolonged successful period lasting until the mid 90's in which time, gor a couple of seasons, the Club were able to field four teams. The ever improving standard of play led to our twice winning the Liverpool Cup in 1982 and 1983, and there were also successes in the more widely publicised County Cup games where we were invariably eliminated by one of the senior clubs in the county, twice then going on to ein the Plate competition in 1988 and 1993.

MPRUFC plaque - click to enlarge
Merseyside Police Lancashire plate winners 1993 - click to enlarge

Lancashire Plate Winners -v- Sefton 1993

Back Row: Jim Shields, Ray Galloway, Paul Leeman, Phil Atherton, Kevin Quinn, Colin Roberts,
Gareth Howells, Richie Davies, Tim McCabe, Phil Wright
Front Row: Peter Smith, Andy Ward, Mark Woods, Simon Thompson, Paul Hornby, Jeff Husley (Capt)
Neil Shaw, Paul Kendrick, Ray Jones, Jim Fairclough

Biography - Nigel Heslop

However, local rugby apart, it was the appearance in five finals of the British Police Knock - Out Cup Competition over a period of 10 years from 1979, that truly marked Merseyside's standing particularly in police circles, the more so for the fact the Merseyside Police R.F.C won two of those finals to become National Champions in 1986 and 1988. Like all other Forces, the services of officers playing for senior clubs were called upon and it will not surprise to know that the stregth of police rugby on Merseyside in those halcyon days was recognised with multiple selections for the British Police Team, making a total of 12 officers from Merseyside who have played at that level.

Merseyside Police rugby P.A.A. champions 1986-click to enlarge

M.P.R.U.F.C. - P.A.A. Champions 1985-6 Season

Back Row: Con. G. Carroll, Con. S. Dixon, Con. B. Roddy, Con. K. Hill, D/Con. P. Edge, Sgt. W. Harris,
3rd Row: D/Con. P. Roberts, Con. A. Holmes, Con. A. Done, Con. M. Reeves, Sgt. P. Hill,
D/Con. S. Walker, Con. N. Heslop, D/Con. S. Hogg, Con. S. Davies, Con. P. Wright,
2nd Row: Con. A. Ward, Con. K. White, Con. G. Howard, Con. P. Dobbing, D/Con. P. Atherton,
Con. S. Gallagher, Con. K. Quinn, Con. C. Evans, Con. J. McNally, Con. M. Guiness
Seated:Con. J. Fletcher (Asst. Sec.), D/Sgt. G. Dafnis, (Hon. Sec.), D/Supt. Roger Corker,
Con. A. Donker, Sir K. G. Oxford , Chief Constable (President), Con. G. Howells (Club Captain),
J. A. Crawford, Asst. Chief Constable (Chairman), Sgt. C. Dunn (Treasurer), Ch. Supt. J. Simon

Merseyside Police rugby PAA 1979c - click to enlarge

P.A.A. Final 1979 at Stafford - Merseyside 7 pts. Gwent 13 pts.

Back Row: Roger Corker (Vice Chair), Sir Ken Oxford, Chief Constable (President), Paul Lewis,
A. N. Other, Jim McPartland, Gareth Howells, John Holt, Phil Roberts, Phil Atherton,
Phil Dobbing, Ian Broughton, Chris Brandreath, Geordie Bushell, Frank Ward (Chairman)
Front Row: Peter Jones, Pete Roberts, Phil Green, Steve Walker, Bill Stacey (Sapt.),
Caredig Evans, Martin Reeves, Paul Bailey, Steve Hogg

Despite successes in the mentioned competitions, reality is that in the rugby world, 'League' Rugby is seen as the proving ground. Before 'Leagues' became the vogue, improving the level of fixtures was difficult not least because over many long years established clubs had developed fixture lists which they were reluctant to change to accommodate emerging clubs.

The introduction of 'League' rugby in the 1980's changed all that, presenting the likes of the Merseyside Police Rugby Club the opportunity to make their mark in the rugby world and in that regards, the Club peaked in the 1990's. By then we were playing in the North West Division 1 League, a level just two down from National League status. Unfortunately, it was playing at that level, together with the introduction of professionalism, which was much to blame for our decline thereafter for playing in the North West Leagues rquired the team to sometimes travel 250 miles to fulfill a fixture. Given the ever increasing demands on the Police Service at that time, associated with the reducing facilities allowed for sport, it proved impossible to sustain the necessary commitment and so it was that after struggling for several seasons to maintain our position, in 1999 the Club opted out of the 'League' Structure to play 'Social' rugby. in reality this meant going back to the grass roots, playing rugby in a non league environment but importantly allowing police officers to continue to participate in a favourite pastime whenever they were able. It was the dedication and commitment of just a few stalwarts that allowed for police rugby to prevail on Merseyside when again it could so easily have folded. It has been the continued endeavours of much the same individuals which went on to create an influx of new blood to the Club and which allowed the Merseyside Police R.F.C. to return to the 'League' Structure in 2004 where they remain to this day, albeit at a lower level than in the halcyon days.

R. G. Corker
Honary Life President
Merseyside Police R.F.C.
D/Supt. Retd.

LCP Rugby Tour 1967 - click to enlarge

Rugby Tour to Royal Ulster Constabulary, March 1967

Back row: C. Turner. P. Hart, D. Thomas, T. Kavanagh, Referee, J. Jones, M. Rowe, G. Dafnis, G. Johnston, G. Dennett, M. Donnelley, N. Vernon, B. Christopher, C. Hodkinson, D. Houghton, Ch. Insp. O'Connor, G. Evans, P. Johnston

Front row: J. Killilea, Supt. Craig, P. Whitehead, R. Corker (captain), P. Mosely, A. Jones, Mr. Flanagan, D. Beggs

New Roy 4w - click to enlarge
New Roy 3w - click to enlarge
Roy new 1w - click to enlarge

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