Even the weather was on it’s best behaviour at Frant Rd on Saturday, with the promised rain staying away for almost the entire day and even when a light shower did arrive, it did little to dampen the spirits of the Streatham-Croyden players and fans.
A team of SCRFC Legends took on a team of SCRFC players drawn from all players under the age of 30, in what has been billed as an Olds v Youngs game. Players from the last 40 years turned out for the legends, some having not played rugby for over 20 years, while the under 30s side boasted some of the clubs current highest try scorers and a fair amount of 1st team players. Anyone thinking that this would be a casual affair was in for a shock as both sides looked to demonstrate they were the better team. Where the Legends had a pack twice the size of the ‘Youngs’, it was the under 30s backs that made the difference the highlight of which were two wonderful solo effort tries from current 1st team wingers Aaron Brown and Andy Daniels.
In true rugby tradition, what had been quite a brutal affair on the pitch turned immediately to handshakes, hugs and back slapping the moment the final whistle was blown. The Under 30’s side taking the win by 2 tries and while players from across the years headed to the bar to exchange stories over a few pints, it was a final opportunity for the almost 100 spectators to view the work that has been carried out over the last 3 months.
The new stand certainly puts Streatham-Croyden in the top tier of facilities provision for their level of rugby (some teams in the surrey leagues don’t even have a pitch, let alone a modern facility such as this) Gone are the old showers, changing rooms and toilets all completely stripped out and rebuilt, the dead space in the showers that once held the baths is now a private referees changing room (ideal for the increase in female officials) and away team treatment room. All changing rooms have been renovated and enlarged as well as a treatment room for the home team.
Externally the stand has been re-clad and seats make a welcome return for spectators. The car park has been levelled and re-surfaced and in a separate project the flood lighting around the ground has been renovated. In a time where inner-city sports grounds and club are disappearing, SCRFC is a shining example of a club that is determined to be around for another 140 years!
Both teams celebrate after the match
When Streatham Rugby club built itself a grandstand almost 60 years ago, it soon became the heart of the club, boasting facilities that few clubs in the area could match; showers, plunge baths, changing rooms for four teams and even a tea room were all included. It was a mark of how successful the club had become in the post war period. With the decline of inner-city sport and the migration of the rugby playing classes to the green belt of Surrey, the club started to fall into decline and the stand has always been a fair barometer of the clubs fortunes. Lack of funds saw the facilities fall into disrepair and it was all the club could do to keep a roof over the changing rooms and hot water in the showers.
However, the last few years have seen a turn around at Streatham-Croyden (Streatham RFC adding the Croyden in 1964) The revival of the club is in no small measure down to Jeff Greenleaf and a small committed team who have taken up the cause to bring this once thriving club back to good health. With two promotions and a cup win in the last 3 years, the 1st XV have certainly done their bit on the pitch and Greenleaf and his team have continued this success on the side lines.
Through an exhausting series of meetings, funding proposals and presentations a development fund was created enabling the club to invest in the Stand and bring the changing facilities back up to first class standard. Work began at the end of the the 12/13 season and this Saturday (17th Of August) saw the opening of the new stand to players and fans for the first time
Building the original stand in 1957