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1884 - 1910 - Tudhoe & District Clubs

It is remarkable that for 20 seasons between 1884 and 1904, the Tudhoe club, based at Brewery Field, Low Spennymoor, but originally playing at Five Lane Ends),was quite a force in Durham County Rugby, yet remain little known or their exploits recorded.

Formed originally by Paddy Junor, a Scot, who was in the Brewing trade, he was instrumental in the founding of the County Union and Houghton RFC and played for Durham City and County. The club produced a good number of County players (and many who went on to play in the Northern Union) as well as winning the Senior Cup and Second Teams Cup on a number of occasions. County matches and Trials were also played on the Brewery Field and it was Walter Taylor of Tudhoe led the Durham County XV to their first ever Championship win against Devon at Exeter in 1900, to herald the Halcyon Era at the start of the 20th Century for Durham Rugby.

The club’s demise apparently came in 1904 when West Hartlepool businessman Christopher Furness, based in Baltic Chambers, Surtees Street, bought the Weardale Steel, Coal and Coke Company which owned the Ironworks. Furness decided to open a new Iron Works at Cargo Fleet as part of the South Durham Iron & Steel Co plans and the Tudhoe plant closed in 1904 which signaled the end of the Tudhoe Club. It is also significant that the club founder and leading light, Paddy Junor, died in March of 1904, the Rugby club folded in April and Spennymoor Town FC was formed in the May of that year and moved onto the Brewery Field,where they remain to this day,  all this against a background of Rugby being unpopular in the district which was also the situation in the Hartlepools. The Ironworks did not cease for a while but re-opened shortly afterwards under different ownership.

The name of Tudhoe did not die, in 1908, Rugby in Low Spennymoor revived when Tudhoe & Ferryhill United was formed, following a meeting in the Ironworks Hotel appropriately, and acquired a ground just five minutes from the Station, the new club ran until the outbreak of the Great War, reaching the Final of the Couty Junior Cup in 1910.

The Tudhoe & Spennymoor District also saw several Junior Clubs that were equally prominent, in Croxdale, West Cornforth, Byers Green, Ferryhill, Spennymoor Park Rangers (who defeated West Hpool Vulcans in 1896 to lift the County Junior Cup); Merrington Lane, Spennymoor Vulcan Swifts with Spennymoor Salim Juniors. Just a small number of the many clubs that played in the Spennymoor & District Challenge Cup which was restricted to clubs within a 10-mile radius of the town.

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