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ARFC History

The concept of an Old Boys Rugby Club was the vision of John Luget. Headmaster of Henbury County Secondary School. 

He wanted to create an Old Pupils Society “to provide opportunities for Ex- Pupils to continue their association with the School and to provide facilities for their further social, physical and moral development”. 

 

With this in mind, an association of men’s rugby, ladies hockey and a social club which would include table tennis, basketball, dancing, badminton, tennis, music, drama and indoor football was established under the name of “The Aretians”. The name being the idea of John and representing the school motto “Arete” meaning Virtue. It is each person’s “Virtue” to achieve the highest standard of excellence in any undertaking. 

Roy Dash who was Head of Games at Henbury School, as well as played for Bristol RFC and Richard Wallace who was Captain of a very successful School Rugby XV, was asked to form The Old Boys Rugby Team. Someone who was also integral at this time was Bert Ind.  He had come from Broad Plain RFC and was the link to the Bristol Combination and worked tirelessly to establish the Aretians RFC.  He should be fondly remembered. 

Once elected into the Junior Combination at the start of 1961/62 season a committee of “Dads” was established to run the club. These included Cyril Wallace, Jim Battle, Harry Harrison, Fred Hill, Ted Smith and John Luton. All were made Vice Presidents for their achievements at a later date. 

A highlight of this era was winning the Junior Combination Sevens Cup, with players from the junior side proceeding on to play at a higher level, Tony Rogers (Bristol, Gloucestershire County, Somerset County and South West Counties). Richard Wallace (Bristol, Gloucestershire County, Huddersfield, York, HKR, Other Counties and Rugby League International) and Pete Smith (Bristol) to name a few. 

The season 1962/1963 saw Aretians graduate into the Senior Combination playing against club second, third and fourth teams. This was to establish a playing standard as clubs were reluctant to give First Team fixtures unless you proved yourself against their lower sides, until eventually earning a full First Team Fixture List which included the top clubs such as Dings, Old Reds, St. Mary’s, Weston Utd, Weston Hornets, Harlequins, to name a few.

 

During this season and the season following, the ex- including Laurie Smith, Colin Luton, Geoff Panes, Pete Boeater, Graham Brazell, Tony Brown, Ron Gledhill, Tony Rogers, Richard Parker, Barry Reid, Richard Wallace, Bob Dean, John McAleavy, Geoff Rogers, Dave Hallet, Norman Hoskins,  Brian Furber, Pete Smith and Dave Battle were joined by some more “mature” players which included Ian Wallace, Tony Gaynor, Keith Owen, Roger Sansom, Bert John and teachers from Henbury School which included Roy Dash, Bill Scapens, Jeff Morris, Colin Davis etc.

 

This mixture all combined to stiffen the backbone of the club and supported the talent of the “youngsters.” During this period, Aretians won the Imperial Sevens Cup and were narrowly beaten by Widnes in the Oxford Sevens.

The following seasons Aretians were supported by players joining straight from Henbury School. Supplying strength in depth for all positions and upholding the tradition of supplying players to Bristol RFC through to County and International level which included Barry Nelmes, Steve Millard, Chris Bodie, Chris Williams, Malcolm Baker and Pat Booth (London Irish) 

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