Havant RFC, ‘Hav’, was founded in April 1951 and came to our present home, at Hooks Lane, Bedhampton, two years later. The clubhouse, which was built by members of the Club, was opened in 1955 by the Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth.
Ten years after its founding, HRFC was running 5 sides. In 1962 Colts were started and there were further extensions to the clubhouse. A new clubhouse was opened at the end of 1975 and in 1993 there due to demand there were further extensions, and the addition of an all-seater grandstand.
Early milestones in the Club’s playing history were the winning of the Hampshire Cup for the first time in 1974/75 and then, in 1975/76, becoming the first Junior Club to go into the last 16 of the John Player Cup. HRFC has now won the Hampshire Cup 16 times, the last being in season 2007-08.
When leagues were formed for 1987/88, ‘Hav’ was positioned in Area League South. Our league record since then is:
Year League Level Position
1987/88 Area League South Level 4 5/11
1988/89 Area League South Level 4 2/11
1989/90 Area League South Level 4 5/11
1990/91 National Div 4 South Level 4 8/13
1991/92 National Div 4 South Level 4 1/13
1992/93 National Div 3 Level 3 2/12
1993/94 National Div 3 Level 3 9/10
1994/95 National Div 4 Level 4 4/10
1995/96 National Div 4 Level 4 8/10
1996/97 National Div 3 Level 4 14/16
1997/98 Jewson National 2 South Level 4 12/14
1998/99 Jewson National 2 South Level 4 14/14
1999/00 London Div 1 Level 5 8/17
2000/01 London Div 1 Level 5 2/12
2001/02 London Div 1 Level 5 1/12
2002/03 National Division 3 South Level 4 13/14
2003/04 London Div 1 Level 5 1/12
2004/05 National Division 3 South Level 4 7/14
2005/06 National Division 3 South Level 4 9/14
2006/07 National Division 3 South Level 4 3/14
2007/08 National Division 3 South Level 4 10/14
2008/09 National Division 3 South Level 4 14/14
2009/10 National Division 3 London & South East Level 5 8/14
2010/11 National Division 3 London & South East Level 5
The highlights of the league campaigns were gaining promotion to National League 3 at the end of 1991/92, and then finishing joint top of that league the following season, missing promotion on points difference which would have made the club one of the top twenty clubs in the country. After a difficult period in the second half of the nineties (coincident with the advent of professionalism!), ‘Hav’ halted their slide in 2000/01 and fought their way back into the National Leagues the following season. They were immediately relegated, however, with great spirit and determination, bounced straight back at the end of 2003-04 and for five seasons managed to maintain National League status. 2006-07 was the best year since the 1992-93 campaign! We just managed to ‘survive’ at the end of 2007-08, but then, with our limited resources, struggled to compete in 2008-09 and were relegated back to level 5, confusingly called National Division 3 London & South East where last season we managed to ‘steady the ship’!
The figure in the top half of the Shield is that used in heraldry to represent a Dolphin! The significance to the club of the Dolphin is that the club was founded at a meeting in The Dolphin Hotel in Havant on 27th April 1951. At that time The Dolphin was in West Street in Havant where it had been since the early part of the 19th Century; stagecoaches used it as the principal inn in Havant on the road between Brighton and Portsmouth. In 1958 it was demolished to make way for the West Street Arcade – itself demolished when the Meridian Centre was built – and was re-sited in Park Road South. It was pulled down a couple of years ago.
The bottom left of the shield contains the figures to be seen on the Hampshire badge, a crown over a rose. These figures are also used in the badge of the Hampshire RFU. This is a badge of great antiquity and was accepted in its present form by Hampshire County Council in 1895. In some forms of the badge there is a double rose – white in the centre and red on the outer edges – but the more ancient form, and the one shown on today’s badge is a Lancastrian red rose.
The bottom right contains a figure to represent a sheet of parchment representing the ancient craft of parchment making that was practised in Havant for hundreds of years and which finally ceased in 1936. There were a couple of firms still making parchment in Havant at the turn of the century, Stallards working in Homewell and Stents in West Street. Stallards finally closed in 1936 and the buildings were occupied by the building firm, Carrells. Stents became glove makers closing down in the 1950s, their premises being taken over by the building firm, Henry Jones.