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Since 1931 there has been a rugby club established in Byfleet. The club in question was Vickers RFC, more latterly named BAC RFC and British Aerospace RFC and it was based at Kings Head Lane, Byfleet, behind the Kings Head pub and next to Kings Head Lane Primary School. Perhaps some of you were members of the sports and social club based in Kings Head Lane and even players for the rugby club. With the closure of the British Aerospace works in the early eighties the rugby club survived until the late eighties and then in the early nineties took over running the old social club and was reformed as Woking RFC in 1990. The club entered Surrey league 5 and was promoted, three times as champions into Surrey League 1. During this time the club reached the last 16 of the national junior cup competition. The rugby committee took over the running of the prestigious former BAe pavilion and grounds and turned it from a loss making concern to break even.
On expiry of the short lease granted by BAe, the rugby club were forced to move half a mile eastwards along the M25 to the Byfleet recreation ground.
Here the club has been based since 1993, hiring two pitches from Woking Borough Council. Numerous searches for a standalone ground and club house have been fruitless. The club has a couple of strong permanent floodlights which allows mid week training and these lights are made available for community use too..
So having grown from a single side club to a four side club in Surrey League 1 Woking RFC was competing against many local rugby sides and with an exodus of 1st XV players led by the then 1XV captain the club found it hard to compete with the superior facilities and drawing power of other local clubs.
So what has kept this club going, providing the opportunity for Woking residents to play rugby locally - well it has certainly not been the support of the local authority which has acknowledged the need for 21st century facilities but not delivered - no it has been the past and present members of the club.
One common thread since the Vickers days is the club’s retiring president HW (Bill) Ellis who has played, refereed and administered in the club for over 50 years and Edward O’Kelly former bar steward at the BAC club who is a life vice president.
So what does the future hold. Well the club is currently running two senior sides and playing numbers are on the rise despite the transient nature of a large proportion of the Woking borough residents. Experience has been many younger members move out of the area simply because they cannot afford the price of accommodation. There is scope for more senior sides. The club used to run a junior section in the seventies and again briefly in the late nineties and has developing a junior rugby set up as a key plank in the future development of the club.