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1920 - 1928 - Pyman League - Zenith & Demise

The advent of the First World War saw the playing of Rugby Football officially suspended, but in the Hartlepool area, Rugby did carry on through the war on a casual basis with minor clubs being formed in various street areas.

Minor Club football firmly revived in 1920 with the formation of the Hartlepool & District Rugby Union under the Chairmanship of Magnus Irvin (1874-1952) and Robin Pyman supported by Dr W Scott-Gibb.

The years following this revival saw the zenith of the Pyman League and within a few years, 25 sides were competing in two Divisions, at one point the local Press speculated that the League should expand to include Middlesbrough and Redcar 2nd XVs to create a 3 Division structure.However, by 1926 only 3 clubs entered for Division 1, feeling that the Competition of the Leagues was “too hot” for them according to the “Mail” reports. In addition, breaches of the Rules regarding Players Transfers (a problem for Pre-War days also!), and a gift or honorarium to the Secretary saw the Competition Suspended by the County Union, and since 1928/29 season is has been a knockout Competition.

All of this competitive Rugby plus the Lormor Cup, Gibb Shield, and West Shield along with all of the County Cup Competitions and a chronic shortage of pitches. Though dominated by clubs based on the Heugh, the pitch situation was eased by players travelling all the way to West Hartlepool Rec at Rift House for many games!

A glance at the Clubs and their “H.Qs” between Throston Bridge and the Fish Quay Gates shows was a hive of Rugby the Heugh must have been in the “Roaring Twenties”.  Red Rose operated from the Union in High Street and later the Lawrenson in Northgate. YMCA was in Southgate, Seaman’s Mission on Town Wall with United Services in Mary Street. Boys Brigade and Old Boys Institute were both housed in the Old Mill with Brotherhood in Northgate Methodists and St Mary’s in Darlington Street.  The Brunswick was the home of Heortensians and of course Rovers teams operated out of their Memorial HQ in Moor Terrace



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