The Nomads team from Marlborough RFC, the club’s second XV keeps alive the name and spirit of the original Marlborough Nomads. Marlborough, along with several other clubs still in existence such as Blackheath were synonymous with the early development of Rugby as a sport in the latter nineteenth century. The original Marlborough Nomads and Rosslyn Park Nomads merged into one club at Rosslyn Park back in 1911 but last Saturday (14 October) the two Nomad teams met again for the first time in 107 years.
The original Marlborough Nomads club was one of the founders of the RFU in 1871 and also provided a future England captain, Alfred St. George Hamersley, who played in the first ever international Rugby Union match in that same year when England took on Scotland at Raeburn Park in Edinburgh. Alfred Hammersley later spent fifteen years in Canterbury, New Zealand where he was instrumental in introducing the game to the youth of South Island, and the rest, as they say, is history…
The photograph above (from 1910) records the last time that the Marlborough Nomads and Rosslyn Park Nomads met on a rugby pitch before the two teams merged the following year.
The ‘Nomads’ identity however was deeply entrenched within Marlborogh Rugby and the current Marlborough Nomads and associated 1871 committee are now a key parts of Marlborough Rugby club going forward.
To rekindle the association between Marlborough and Rosslyn Park, the two teams played on Saturday, the first meeting between the teams for 107 years, and hopefully not the last. The photograph (left) is of the first scrum between the teams for more than a century.
The match was played on the impressive 4G artificial pitch at Rosslyn Park, at the same ground as the 1910 match.
The result was a very narrow victory for the home Nomads, Rosslyn Park, who had nudged in front by the final whistle with the score standing at 26-24 in their favour.
The match was a close affair with both sides leading during the game. Marlborough were the first to score through Harry Kearley, with a dive over the line after some good team play. After Will Grant disrupted the Rosslyn scrum half, Hugo O’Neill scored Marlborough’s second. Rosslyn started the second half well scoring two tries to take the lead. A try from Jake Horwood went over in second half, but Rosslyn Park edged ahead again. A try under the posts by Will Grant and a conversion brought Marlborough to within 2 points, but Rosslyn Park edged out the game to win by 2 points.
Rosslyn were excellent hosts, Gary Sharp (Chairman of Marlborough RFC) presented a shirt and club shield to Rosslyn Park. Marlborough will be hosting the return fixture next year on the common, and it is hoped the fixture will become an annual event.