Our History

Old Parkonians Rugby Club was formed by old boys of Birkenhead Park High School in 1928 and became an Association in 1931, moving to Holm Lane in 1948.

oldclubopening ©oldclubopening
The photograph on the right shows HM Curphey with the Mayor of Birkenhead at the opening of the first Clubhouse in 1951 - click on the photograph to see the full sized version.

The press article below preceded the opening with an account of how the Club was founded and what led to the Clubouse being opened.

Click on the article to see the full sized version - you may need to enlarge this in your browser to read the details. The article can also be opened in Flickr with the link below.

From the Birkenhead News ©From the Birkenhead News
 In 1964/65 the existing clubhouse was built using materials from the old RAF site in Greasby, labour and professional help provided by club members. Changing rooms were added in the 1970's also with the help of members.

The Rugby ground was officially opened in September 1951, membership being restricted to old boys of the school.

This continued until the opening of the present clubhouse in 1966 when club membership was open to all.

Friendly rugby (with at one time 6 XVs) was played until the RFU league structure was formed in the 1980's.

Currently we field 2 XVs with high hopes shortly of moving to 3 XVs.

The Honours Board that commemorates Old Parkonians who lost their lives during World War 2...

 OPHonoursBoard ©OPHonoursBoard

Old Parkonians Cricket Club

The cricket section was formed in 1950, playing on coconut matting on the rugby ground, then moving to a ground share with Victory Kidder CC in Arrowe Park. When the Holm Lane grounds were re-developed in 1970/71 a cricket square was made between the two new rugby pitches and was in use 2 years later.

Friendly games with one team were played until we joined the Wirral league in 1987, finishing the 1988 season as champions, 1990 saw the formation of a second XI in the Wirral league. A 3rd XI was formed in 1994 and plays in the Bromborough Paints Merseyside cricket competition.

From 1992/96 the club played in the North Cheshire league, 1997/99 in the Merseyside cricket competition, moving again in 2000 to the Meller Braggins Cheshire cricket league.

Sunday and mid-week matches are played throughout the season.

The under 13 and under 15 teams play in the Wirral junior league.

The Birkenhead News ~ 8th January 1958

Old Rockferrians 3pts - Old Parkonians 3pts

Saturday`s game between Old Rockferrians and Old Parkonians as the previous encounter earlier in the season ended in a draw, on this occasion each side claiming a penalty goal.

A ground more than generously laden with mud held so little prospect of an enthralling spectacle that the subsequent uninspiring display was not so much disappointing as expected.

Old Parkonians, much to their credit attempted to open the play out, but despite some promising looking movements their opponents line was rarely threatened.

Old Parkonians nearly scored under the home posts, but generally the Rockferrrians covering was to much for the visiting backs. In the forwards the home side were more often than not superior, despite some good work by Paterson, Morris and Evans for the visitors.

Behind the respective scrums, the Rockferrians threes being cast in a mainly defensive role. Most of the activity emanated from Old Parkonians who in Madden had a particularly dangerous centre.

However such enterprises were not always assisted by an erratic display from fly-half Holt, who at times produced some excellent touches, yet often inexplicably ruined previous good work.

There can be no doubt that both sides were best served at fullback in which the incomparable Kendall augmented a sound defensive display for the visitors with some brilliant running.

Old Rockferrians enjoyed a first half lead through Wildman, who kicked a splendid penalty goal from near the left touch-line. This was negatived late in the second half when Madden deservedly landed a penalty goal for the visitors in front of the posts.

Madden`s kick represents the only score achieved by Old Parkonians against Old Rockferrians in the last four meetings and the game itself continues the run of low scoring engagements by now all too common between these sides.

Some photos from Pete Westwater, sent in August 2011 - click an image to see the full-sized version...

Colts 1990 - Winners of the Cheshire Shield
Colts - 1990 ©Colts - 1990

From Steve Kearney...

The Old Parkonians' Colts' team that won the Cheshire Shield in 1990. They beat Sandbach, Old Rockferrians and Macclesfield on the way to the final against Ashton on Mersey. The final was won in extra time.

Some names who went on to play for the Club, include Simon Smithdale, Paul Browne, Wayne Prescott, John McGlinchy, Mark Burley and Dave Edwards. The rest didn't really go on to play for Old Parkonians to any real extent.

Isle of Man ~ Late '80s?
091109-IOMan ©091109-IOMan

Click on the pic to see the detail - What was the year and who are they?
Answers to info@oldparkonians.org.uk

Response 1: "If you think the pic of the late 1980’s is in the IOM, then I think it was Billy’s first? year of captaincy when he broke his leg. If so, I also think that it could have been at Vagabonds who we played for a couple of years in the leagues around that time. They had taken over from Douglas as the best team on the island. I remember one visit to Vaggers (and it may be this one) when Rick Wakeman’s son was the entertainment at Vaggers. I don’t think we stayed long and hihoed out to take the island by storm. Best wishes to all, Ian Jones.

Response 2: "I believe it was me who took the photo………
I believe it would have been the 90-91 season Bill’s second year here he’s seen here on crutches after breaking his leg on opening day against Caldy.
The game itself was not against Vagabonds but Douglas in a league fixture, we travelled in style all with spanking new tracksuits. However Vagabonds were indeed a rising force. The “Rick Wakemans son” playing at Vaggers was not this occasion but on a memorable Easter Tour where we played sevens at Vagabonds…… who can forget the advert breaks on the video… and Graham Bennetts exploding condom. That was a where a young Mr. Loundes accused me of breaking my legs in for cripple……… and our superb  “B” team limped their way to the final losing “narrowly” to the hosts.
Best wishes for the coming season, Carl Jones

Response 3: Thanks for the info, Carl. I’m sure you are right about the fixture. I agree the “Rick Wakeman son” episode was not in connection with this photo. However, that “hi-hoing” must have been after a fixture against Vaggers as I was not on a tour to the IOM after 1978.

3rd XV ~ 1983/84
3rdXV-8384 ©3rdXV-8384

This team, captained by Paul Byrne, had the enviable record of playing 38 matches, winning 35, drawing 2 and losing only their final game of the season, 0-3 with an opposition penalty in the closing minutes of the game. They scored 746 points and conceded only 48.
Click on the image to see the detail. Click here to view/download on Flickr

A Team from the 80s
team01 ©View on Flickr

Back Row: HM Curphey (President) Haydn Owen, J D Smith, Paul Mullen, Steve Johns,
Kevin Dobbing, Ken Cooke, Mark Pearson, Brian (Gus) Cusick, Ian Jones.
Front Row: Rod Whalley, Noel Youds, Bill Lloyd, John Maher (Capt), Dave Smith, Geoff Williams, Mal Evans.

A Team from the 70s
120201-kcooke ©120201-kcooke

Click on the pic to see the detail
Back Row: Mal Evans; Nick Pyke; Steve Lowndes; Peter Welton; Peter Browne; John Maher; Les Wheatley; Jimmy Quinlan
Front Row: Peter Swift; Gus Cusic; John Jackson; Kenny Cooke (Captain) Paul Mullen; Nigel Cliff; Robbie Knight:
Officials: H.M. Curphey and Ted Chamberlain

Players from the 1956/7 Season
rugby1956 ©View on Flickr

Back: Bob Keating, A.D. Evans, Ken Jackson, C.K. Wilson, Bob Amery, George Parr, Ron Cooper, C.D. Forbes,
Eric Potter, Andy Miller, H.M. Curphey
Front: Terry McCann, John Madden, Ted Chamberlain, Jim Kendall (Captain), Arthur Clarkson, Stan Prescott, A.W. Dalton
(Click on the photo to see the detail)

Team Sheets from the 70s and 80s

At the Annual Rugby Club Dinner in on 20th April 2013, Alan Muir turned up with
a couple of teamsheets from the 70s and 80s.
Click on an image to see the detail - this will open in a new browser window.

TeamSheet-19721209 ©View on Flickr
TeamSheet-19840303 ©View on Flickr


oldclubhouse ©oldclubhouse

The old Clubhouse shortly before being demolished in 1996.

vv ©vv

The Vestal Virgins - Parkonians' only Ladies Rugby Team. From far right – Val Maher, Norma Cowan (as she was but now Jones – my wife!), not certain about third along, then Sue Long, then Chris Cooke. Bottom row right hand side Joyce Westwater. The girl with the hidden face but straight blond hair, third or fourth from left with centre parting of hair, is Norma’s sister Shirley Cowan - from Ian Jones

Brothers v Veterans Annual Boxing Day Match ~ The History

Written prior to the 30th Brothers v Veterans Match in 2009

In the Autumn of 1980 four players of the then Old Parkonians RUFC, Pete Evans and Richie Beckett (for the Brothers) and Donny Hawker and Robbie Knight (for the Veterans) decided to formulate an annual game to be played each year on Boxing Day between The Brothers XV and The Veterans XV.

This has been played each year since then, whatever the weather, and this coming Saturday (Boxing Day) 26th December at the club's ground, Holm Lane, Oxton, it will be held for the 30th consecutive year. All players and spectators, whatever their club, are most welcome. The game will be refereed by locally based Liverpool Society referee, Dave Grundy.

The game is played for the Beckett/Hillan Shield presented to the winning captain on the day. The shield was originally donated by the late Harold Beckett, Richie's father. However, this original shield was presumed lost in the mid 1990's by The Brothers captain, Mark Hillan, still captain of their side to this day. On hearing of this dilemma Mark,Pete and Paul's father, Andrew, agreed to sponsor a new shield.However, when it came to the next game the original shield was found in the bar cellar; hence the fact that there are now two shields to be played for!!

The game is always on whatever anwith the worst weather happening the 2nd annual game played on Boxing Day 1981 and below is the report penned for the Daily Post edition on Tuesday 29th December 1981 by the then Post rugby union correspondent, the late George Withy.

'The Old Parkonians beat the Arctic conditions at Holm Lane, Oxton, yesterday, to stage their annual match between the Old Parkonians Brothers' XV and the Old Parkonians Veterans XV.

They brushed the snow off the lines, hacked away the ice and played for 30 minutes each way on a pitch that, hard at first, became more playable as the game went on.

John Turner, a Liverpool Society referee took the first half, Dai Adams, a senior referee controlled the third quarter, and Harold Beckett, a real veteran, completed the task.

The Brothers' XV, composed entirely of brothers who play for the club won 37-4.

''The score was not important,'' said Harold Beckett afterwards.''What was important was that 30 players, the referees, the touchjudges and a handful of spectators enjoyed themselves enormously.Leagues, cups, merit tables may have their place in Rugby Union, but what took place today at Holm Lane was what Rugby Union is all about. Let's look forward to the same fixture next year and every year!''

This year's game will be especially poignant as this will be the first year that veteran Donny Hawker will not be playing as sadly at the age of 69 Donny passed away in July of this year; he had made a playing appearance in all 29 previous games!! His widow, Helen, and son, Mike will be sponsoring the malts for the pre match loyal toasts and the Donny Hawker Man Of The Match Trophy which will be awarded for the first time.

Also to be toasted will be former Parkonian legends Brian 'Gus' Cusick, CK 'Ken' Wilson and Teddy Chamberlain who also all passed away in 2008 and 2009.

Yours In Sport.
Richie Beckett. Press Officer. Parkonians RUFC

Pictures from the Past

The following photographs are just a few from the historical collection from the Club. We hope to be able to provide information on the pictures, including putting names to faces, and add to the collection over time.

To see the full sized version of one of the pictures below, click on it.