|With Kidderminster Harriers F.C. now a member of the Football League, it is not commonly known that they were once a very successful rugby union team. Starting life as an athletic club in the mid-1870s, they formed a rugby club and were very good. There were several clubs in the town including one called Kidderminster, but the two sides never met. “Kidderminster” eventually folded.|
The “Harriers” had six very happy seasons. They had a good fixture list with plenty of top clubs, and to the surprise of many opted for soccer in the late 1880s.This was about the time of Association’s real rise, and the other rugby clubs in the area also gave up.It was not until 1923 that Kidderminster re-formed. In 1937 another club emerged, namely Old Carolians. They were the old boy’s team from King Charles 1st Grammar School that had been in the town for some four hundred years.The 1939-45 war saw the Carols cease playing, but Kidderminster played on throughout the period.Carols started up again in 1948, and for many years the annual Derby was eagerly awaited. There had always been talk of an amalgamation, and although there were opponents in both camps, it eventually came about in 1969.
The new club became Kidderminster Carolians RFC. It has had its ups and downs, but in the last few seasons have had plenty of ups as well as disappointments.Promotion, as well as relegation has resulted in a very good following, but the major happenings have been in the National Cup competitions. Twice losing semi-finalists, one step from Twickenham. That was a heavy cross to bear, but it has done wonders for the club’s standing.They were runners-up in North Midlands One in 96-97, and undefeated winners the next.
Promoted to Midlands West Two they were 4th in 98-99, and then took the title the next time around In season 2000-01, KCs were in Midlands 3 West (North) playing home and away for the first timeThey were ravaged by injuries, with as many as 7 or 8 1st XV squad players out of action at any one time. Towards the end of the season when the injury list shortened, they were on top form and defeated most of the top teams in the league. A 6th place finish did not reflect the quality of rugby they played when at full strength. Last season they finished 3rd and could have won it. Some young players showed plenty of promise, but lacked the necessary experience.
The 2002-03 season started well with KCs winning 8 of their 10 league matches prior to Xmas. They had taken an early exit from the National KO, and lost heavily in the North Mids Cup at Luctonians, but their league-form also went awry. They won just two of their eight league games in the second half of the season, finishing 4th in the division. It was the 2nd XV that won the plaudits. Worcestershire & Herefordshire R U had organised a Merit Table competition. KCs were in section A, based on geography, and won the trophy for being the most successful team in both sections. They won 13 of their 14 matches.They had hoped to “do the double” but once again lost to Old Halesonians in the final of the KCRFC 2nd XV Cup. They were well-lead by Rob Preston, and have brought on some good young players.
President is Brian Garrett, and Chairman Norman Broadfield. Keith Skirving is Secretary.Eddie Ross is club captain and Phil Knowles is Director of Rugby….The club colours are black with amber hoops, black shorts.They play at Marlpool Lane where they opened a new clubhouse last September. A failed Lottery bid has not stopped them building a superb new clubhouse costing £130,000 that was opened for the start of the 2000-01 season. Their second Lottery bid, to complete the development that includes new dressing rooms, has been given the thumbs up. Hopefully work will commence this summer. The pitches have always been in good order and noted for their excellent drainage. A very hard working committee is looking to further improvements off the field as well as on it.
(BRIAN GITTINS – PRESS & PROGRAMMES)
Matt Greene lifts the 2nd team Cup 2004
Brian Garrett and Eddie Ross with Dean Richards
at the opening of the new changing rooms 2004