Luctonians RFC began as Old Luctonians in 1948
Predominantly a collection of old Lucton School boys, the side played its initial season in a field behind the Angel Inn in Kingsland, and whilst as humble as those beginnings may have been, the club could boast of having contained our one and only ever current England International at the time in Douglas Brian Vaughan.
The club moved just up the road into Mortimer Park, and what is now our home, in 1967, creating a site that consisted of two playing fields, changing rooms and clubhouse.
The 80's and 90's
In 1987 the formation of the leagues saw Luctonians placed in North Midlands Division 1 and we would remain in this division until 1994, where we secured our first promotion as a club. The side went unbeaten through the 93/94 season, as they did through 94/95 and then 95/96, to secure what was at the time a Courage League Record of 43 consecutive league victories that stemmed from November 1992 through until October 1996.
The early to mid 90s were a hugely influential time for us as a club, because whilst the 1st XV were setting records and pushing the club on at the top end, the club took on its first full time employee in Club Administrator Simon Green-Price and we also began our very own Mini and Junior Section, which would go on to be the foundation for producing the vast majority of our National League players today.
The three consecutive promotions of the unbeaten side had raised Lucs to Midlands 2 level, and we would remain here until 2001, when, coached by ex-Scottish International Stewart Jardine, we won a playoff at home against Wellingborough 20-13 to secure promotion to Level 5 and Midlands 1 Division and here we would stay until 2010.
Whilst the 1st XV stayed at the same level for a while over this time, the club as a whole continued to progress, as more land was bought for pitches, to keep up with the expansion of the place through particularly the mini and junior section. In 2003 the club also launched the Sun Valley Project, which was the beginning of what is today our Avara Foods Community Coaching Programme, which provides multi-sports coaching, for schools across Herefordshire and surrounding counties.
The club was very much growing as a force on a local level and this was reflected with four North Midlands County Cup victories in five seasons between 2004 and 2009. The other major achievement of this time was the construction of today’s clubhouse and changing facilities in the 2006/07 season, which allowed the club to move forward on a commercial level to the medium sized business that you see today.
Nine seasons at Level 5 on the field, had resulted in two promotion playoff defeats to Macclesfield (2003) and Huddersfield (2008), but in May 2010, the club would finally reach the National Leagues at the third time of asking in what was probably the club’s most important victory to date, away at Stockport 10-18, under the guidance of Stuart Bemand, Richard Henwood and former Gloucester man Viv Wooley. Promotion to this level brought a new approach from the club and Alex Davidson was brought in as full time Director of Rugby.
The National League Era
The club held their own amongst the top 72 in England for eight years in National League 2 North, and enjoyed some very memorable days, from beating both Fylde and Loughborough Students at Mortimer Park in our first season within this league, to beating Leicester Lions in front of a crowd of over 1100 to secure survival in the final game of the season in 2015. During this period the club’s best finish was in 2012 as we took 5th place within the division.
Off the field the pre-match hospitality lunches became a thing of legend across the leagues as we sold out (and still today sell-out) 200 lunches before every home game. The completion of the grandstand in 2013 also allowed the club to properly cater to the ever-growing support that is received on a Saturday afternoon.
On the field, successive seasons of battling the drop were eventually too much, and in 2017/18, despite a heroic last day effort against Champions Sale FC, the club were relegated to Midlands Premier Division (Level 5). But this would prove to be a minor stumbling block in progress, as the 1st XV bounced back immediately to win a promotion playoff against Blaydon in April 2019 to secure their return to Level 4. The season was an extraordinary one for the club both on and off the pitch as the players set a club record for points scored in a league season of 960, whilst off it Luctonians received the great honour of being bestowed the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award in the land for volunteer organisations.
Post-Covid & The Present Day
Our return season to the National Leagues was cut short as the worldwide pandemic turned life upside down for all, but the good news from a Luctonian perspective was that when the line was drawn on the season, the 1st XV had done enough to retain their status.
Whilst the grassroots game came to a stop for the best part of 18 months, in the 2020/21 season we were able to celebrate Jonny Hill becoming the first product of Luctonians mini and junior section to go on and be selected for England and then the British Lions.
The first season back at it for our 1st XV would be our final one in the North, as the RFU restructured the pyramid following our 8th placed finish in 2021/22.
The following season would see our 1st XV join the ranks of the Midlands and South West, as we entered National League 2 West for the first time, whilst history would be made as our 2nd and 3rd XVs were allowed into the main RFU pyramid for the first time, with our 2nd XV entering at Level 7 (the highest permitted by the RFU) and our 3rd XV at Level 8.
That was not the only history made in the 2022/23 season at Lucs, as the club enjoyed one of our finest seasons to date during the 75th year of action. The 1st XV would attain the club’s highest ever league finish as we managed 4th place in the new league and set various club National League records along the way, whilst the 2nd XV would achieve the immaculate season with 22 bonus point wins out of 22 games and a league title to go with it. The 3rd XV retained their position at Level 8, whilst Lucs put out a women’s contact side for the first time in over two decades, as the Vixens played regularly in their inaugural year.