You will hopefully be aware that Old Novocastrians RFC was founded in 1899 by former pupils of Newcastle Royal Grammar School. The first ever fixture was away at North Durham RFC on 23rd September 1899, losing 14-0 to the long-since departed club from Gateshead. For seventy years, the club was reserved for pupils / former pupils and teachers from the school, but in 1969 the club became an open club, changing to Novocastrians RFC.
The 2024-25 season will see the club celebrate its 125th anniversary, and to mark this milestone, there will be a 125 year Novos History Book. Chris Ward has, for many years been compiling team selections, results and match reports from local newspaper archives, and now has every men's first team result going back to that first game. Sadly, since the 1990s, local rugby articles are far fewer, so there is ironically less detail of more recent times. The book will of course, also feature the Novos Ladies team founded in 1992, although newspaper articles are again much rarer for the same reason.
Chris has been the club archivist for over 10 years keeping his own playing records during that time, but he was helped significantly in compiling the club's history when he received detailed playing records from two members.
Jim Lewin, when Chair of Selectors during the 1970s through to the 1980s, kept the most incredible, thorough records, using his own computer programme he had written, during the infancy of the digital age. This included every team selection, player for every team during those years, the scores, who scored the tries / conversions / penalties / drop goals etc.
Andy Leonard when captain and first team manager also kept records of the 1st XV selections, scorers and results.
Chris has been writing the draft of the book for a couple of years. Understandably, many of the passages written are entirely dependent upon newspaper articles, and some school archives, and are therefore quite "dry". The brilliant records provided by Jim, and also by Andy, have meant that huge amounts of additional material are available for the years they were in post. Thank you Jim and Andy!
I've also been giving Chris a little helping hand with my own knowledge and memories from my time at the club since 1983, including going through Jim's records and into the era of league rugby (although my memory is almost as bad as my tackling!)
What Chris now needs though, is to get personal recollections of players and volunteers from the last few decades, to really bring the book to life. At the Medicals v Novos fixture in September, there was a fantastic suggestion from Ian Elvin - to get people to sit and talk about their memories of Novos over a few beers. Thank you Ian!
So, we are inviting you along to the club on Friday 16th February starting at 7pm to do just that - sit down and reminisce with friends and colleagues about your time at Novos over a few beers. We want you to bring your memories to life, and for many of them to end up in print in the book. We really hope that as many of you as possible will be able to come along, perhaps also bringing any memorabilia you might have, or even your own records. This email is going out to over 100 people, and the details will also go on the website / social media, but please can you share this with other former players you might still be in contact with. Some of my email addresses might be out of date, so again please share with your own contacts.
Chris will be able to explain lots about how the project has developed, what the final book will look like, and how to get your name printed in the book....
If you can attend, please can you let me know by reply to email@example.com . Even if you can't make it, you can still share your memories by replying to this. We look forward to seeing you on Friday 16th February.
Best wishes, and thank you.
Graham and Chris Ward