Mission & Brief History
GRFU Mission Statement: "More people, higher quality"
To provide a structure for the organisation and playing of Rugby Football in Gloucestershire
To meet the needs of the member clubs and provide support for the development of the game.
To provide the link between the RFU and the member clubs
In 1878 the ‘Gloucestershire County Club’ was formed and played games against other ‘county clubs’ with a great deal of success. The County Championship commenced in 1889, if such a name could be given to it. The counties played games of their own choice and the RFU examined the various results and declared the county they considered to be the champions. In 1891 a grouping of the counties was made and the championship was put on a proper competitive basis. The first Gloucestershire county match was played at Kingsholm on 17 December 1891 against Devon.
The game in Gloucestershire was put on a more substantial footing by H J Broughton of Gloucester. The result of his efforts was the formation of Gloucestershire Rugby Football Union [GRFU] at a meeting at the Spread Eagle Hotel in Gloucester on 11 November 1891. Ten Clubs were affiliated at this time; Gloucester, Clifton, Stroud, R A College, Bristol, Cheltenham, Lydney, Sharpness, Dursley & Gordon Wanderers.
The first President H J Boughton took office in 1891 remaining there until 1900. Prior to this time there was no constituent body and the clubs just had their affiliation with the RFU.
The main function of GRFU was to provide a team for the County Championship. A Cup competition was also administered. These were the primary functions of the CB for many years and the County Committee was very much a ‘gentlemen’s club’. Presidents were appointed on length of service and generally alternated north and south of the county.
Radical changes came about in the organisation of GRFU in the 1990s. In 1995 an elected Chairman led the General Committee, a task previously undertaken by the President. By the Millennium the CB was administered in a more business like way to meet the needs of the Clubs with a new structure, a business plan and operating procedures. This reflected the changes taking place in the game and in the administration of the RFU. In 2001 the GRFU became Incorporated under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act (1965). Over the next ten years rapid progress was made through to the present organisation with a Council, Management Board and Game Board, all designed to meet the needs of the clubs in the CB.
At present, GRFU has 80 affiliated clubs, five affiliated bodies in the districts of Bristol, Gloucester, Stroud, Cheltenham, Forest of Dean and associated bodies in the Schools' Union, with 114 schools, the Universities & Colleges, the Referees' Societies of Bristol and Gloucester & District.
There have been four Presidents of the Rugby Football Union from Gloucestershire: W T Pearce 1929-30 1930-31 1931-32 A T Voyce 1960-61, J V Smith 1982-83, R A Reeves 2013-14.