CLUB BY CLUB GUIDE: Who Peterborough Lions are up against next season
Some of the most famous names in English rugby - players like World Cup winning skipper Martin Johnson and fellow captains Bill Beaumont and Roger Uttley - are associated with clubs on the new Peterborough Lions fixture list.
The Lions will be plying their trade at National League Division Two level next season - the fourth tier of English club rugby - and it’s been the breeding ground for a wealth of international talent.
Bob French takes a look at the clubs.
• Chester RUFC was formed in 1925 and their ground is at Vicars Cross.
• They reached Level 5 in 2008 and after two unsuccessful attempts to make it to Level 4 via promotion play-offs (v Hull and Sheffield Tigers), they eventually went up a level in 2013.
• In the 2007–08 season they won the RFU Intermediate Cup at Twickenham with a 21–18 win over local rivals Birkenhead Park.
• Cheshire Cup winners in 2004.
• They finished seventh in National League Two last season.
• Fylde are probably the biggest club on the new Lions fixture-list.
• They are based in Lytham St Annes on the Fylde coast in Lancashire and their home venue is the Woodlands Memorial Ground in Ansdell.
• Fylde Rugby Club was founded in 1919, literally on the toss of a coin when a group of Manchester businessmen met at Ansdell Institute to discuss the formation of either a rugby union or a football club. A coin was tossed and it fell in favour of rugby union. The club grew steadily and had a first-class fixture list by the 1960s.
• They have been in the National Leagues since their inception in 1987 and have just suffered relegation from National League One.
• The club’s two most famous players were Malcolm Phillips and Bill Beaumont. Phillips won 25 England caps at centre between 1958 and 1964 while Beaumont earned 34 England caps between 1975 and 1982, 21 of them as captain. He led the side to the Grand Slam in 1980, as well as skippering the 1980 British Lions tour to South Africa. He is still a regular face at Fylde.
• Others to win England caps while playing for Fylde were Roger Uttley, Brian Ashton and Steve Bainbridge while England wingers Tony Swift and Simon Smith were capped in the 1980s after leaving the club.
• Hinckley RUFC was formed in 1892 and moved to their current Leicester Road location 40 years later.
• They were first promoted to the National League when being crowned Midlands Division One champions in 1996-97 but have been up and down since.
• Won a promotion play-off in 2015-16 to reach present level and finished fifth last season.
• Huddersfield RUFC was formed in 1870 and they play at Lockwood Park on a 26-acre site which was a brewery owned by Bass. The site also caters for hockey, squash and bowls which boasts arguably the finest green in Yorkshire.
• The club won the Yorkshire Cup in 2011 for the first time in their history, beating Hull 25-18 at York RUFC.
• Huddersfield have three times been promoted to National League Two (2008, 2014 and 2017) and twice been relegated.
• They were sixth last season.
• Former Lions player Matt Dunn plays for Huddersfield.
• Hull Ionians play at Brantingham Park which is situated in the village of Brantingham between Brough and South Cave.
• Relegated last season after spending three years in National League One.
• Their director of rugby is Alex Crockett, a centre who played for Bath, Bristol and Newcastle Falcons.
• The Lions are the leading amateur club in Leicester and are third to Guinness Premiership side Leicester Tigers and Loughborough Students RUFC within Leicestershire.
• The club was formed as a result of an amalgamation between two local clubs in 1999, those being Westleigh and Wigston.
• Notable former Lions, Westleigh and Wigston players include England World Cup winning captain Martin Johnson, England lock Louis Deacon, Tigers back-rower Brett Deacon and Gloucester and England centre Billy Twelvetrees.
• The Lions won the Leicestershire Cup in 2000, 2001 and 2004.
• They gained Level 4 status in 2005 and were 12th in National League Two last season.
• Macclesfield RUFC was formed in 1927.
• They first reached Level 4 in 2002 and have spent two seasons in National League One (2012-2013 and 2014-2015).
• Won the Cheshire Cup eight times - the last in 2016.
• They finished eighth in National League Two last season.
• Otley RUFC in West Yorkshire was founded in 1865 but broke away from rugby union in 1895 to become a rugby league club. They disbanded in 1906 and reformed as a rugby union club in 1907 at Wharfeside. In 1921 they moved to a new and better ground at Cross Green, Otley.
• In 1979 their stadium was the site of a famous victory by the North of England against the All Blacks.
• The Wallabies suffered the same fate there in October 1988 and Cross Green hosted one group game of the 1991 Rugby World Cup between the United States and Italy which was won by Italy 30–9.
• In the 2007–08 season Otley won the National Division Two title securing an immediate return to National Division One having been relegated the previous season. However they were immediately relegated again in the 2008–09 season.
• Notable former players include England scrum-halves Danny Care (2008-2018) and Nigel Melville (1984-88) and Albert Fert, winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Physics.
• They have been Yorkshire Cup winners nine times - the last occasion being in 1993.
• They were 11th in National League Two last season.
• Preston Grasshoppers are one of the oldest rugby clubs in the North of England having been founded in 1869.
• Grasshoppers players who have progressed to bigger stages include A.N. Hornby, who in the 19th century became the the first man to captain both the English national rugby and cricket sides.
• Other past players to gain England caps were father and son Dick and Will Greenwood, Steve Borthwick, Wade Dooley, Paul Grayson, Don Rutherford and Iain Balshaw.
• Wigan Athletic FC striker James Vaughan also played for the club, before switching to football.
• The ‘Hoppers’ first rose to Level 4 in 1999. They were relegated to Level 5 at the end of the 2016-2017 season but bounced straight back after winning the Northern Premier League last season with number eight Matthew Lamprey scoring over 30 tries.
• Lancashire Cup winners in 2003, 2006 and 2012.
• The side play under the name of Sedgley Tigers and are based in Whitefield, in the Metropolitan Borough of Bury, Greater Manchester.
• They were formed in 1932 when their very first ground was a farmer’s field in Whitefield where they used a cowshed for changing and a farmyard pump for washing.
• They have played in National League Two on and off since 1997 and actually rose to National League One in 2004 but came down again in 2009.
• Last year they finished second but lost their promotion play-off 24-0 to Old Albanians
• They were Lancashire Cup winners in 2002, 2004, 2007 and 2013.
• Sheffield Tigers were formed in 1932 and are based at Dore Moor.
• They won the RFU Vase Final at Twickenham in 2000 and 2005.
• They were promoted to National League Two for the first time in 2016 and finished 10th last season.
• South Leicester Rugby Club was formed in 1919 and is based in Wigston, just south of Leicester.
• They were promoted to National League Two in 2015.
• Leicestershire Cup winners in 2002, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
• The club’s most notable past players are Leicester Tigers and England duo Harry Ellis and Dan Cole.
• Stourbridge RFC was founded in 1876 and their ground, which includes a very smart 450-seater grandstand, is in the hamlet of Stourton set amongst the Staffordshire countryside on the outskirts of the town of Stourbridge.
• The club’s most distinguished product was Huw Davies (Coventry, Wasps and England).
• They made it into National League Two in 2001.
• In June 2010, Stourbridge signed former South African international Thinus Delport as a player/coach.
• They finished third in National League Two last season.
• Tynedale RFC is based in Corbridge, Northumberland.
• Their ground is situated adjacent to the River Tyne and there are seven pitches on their 35-acre site.
• The ground has a modern 400-seater grandstand.
• In 2008 they were promoted to National League Two and went up to National League One two years later.
• They were relegated in 2015 and have played in National League Two since then.
• They finished fourth last season.
• Founded in 1923, Wharfedale is located in the North Yorkshire village of Threshfield.
• They spent 20 years in the third tier before getting relegated from National League One in 2016.
• Their club president is former England international John Spencer, who is also president of the RFU.
• Yorkshire Cup winners in 2010, 2013 and 2014.
• Finished 13th last year in National League Two, just escaping relegation.