Rydal Penrhos has a long-standing tradition of sporting success throughout its history. The school has produced a wealth of international-calibre athletes over the years, who all built their early foundations as pupils before going on to achieve great things.
Whether it’s Wilf Wooller – widely regarded as one of the greatest all-around sportsmen the country’s ever produced – or the Prince of Centres Bleddyn Williams, Rydal Penrhos is proud of its sporting heritage which is continuing right up to the present day.
All this comes from exceptional coaching delivered by the school’s staff team, who are constantly monitoring the progress of our aspiring athletes and developing programmes to enhance conditioning and overall performance in pursuit of reaching their respective goals.
Not only this, but our pupils benefit from first-class facilities to give them another major boost as they look to follow in the footsteps of those who’ve been so incredibly successful in years gone by.
This is something that continues once pupils depart for university or the working world. The Rydal Penrhos Society has a number of sporting groups that alumni of all ages can get involved with, strengthening the close bonds built during their time at school.
Fixtures normally take place over the annual Founders’ Weekend festivities. But the Rydal Penrhos Golf Society hold competitions all over the country throughout their season.
The Old Girls’ hockey and netball matches take place each September as part of Founders’ Weekend.
Former pupils play against the school teams for the Natalie Kate Moss trophies, in memory of Natalie who attended Rydal Penrhos between 1996 and 2003, and who passed away in 2011.
Matches also raise awareness for the Natalie Kate Moss Trust.
The Dragons are the Old Boys’ Hockey team and the newest addition to the Rydal Penrhos Society sporting scene.
They played their inaugural match on Saturday 11 September 2021 at Founders’ Weekend, beating a young School team.
Nick Fiorita, a former Head Boy at Rydal Penrhos, is the primary organiser, with many recent alumni also lending their support to the squad during its initial stages.
The Rydal Penrhos Golf Society is a thriving golf group that includes both former and current pupils.
To get involved, please contact email@example.com and we will put you in touch with our Golf Secretary, Richard Watson.
History of the Rydal Penrhos Golf Society
In the early years of the Old Rydalian Club the two golf competitions played for annually were the Marsden Trophy, which was first played for in the Summer of 1932, having been presented by Sydney Marsden and the Burrows Cup which was played for in the Autumn. The Marsden Trophy is still played for annually.
In the mid-1960s it was decided that the past pupils should enter the prestigious national competition of the Grafton Morrish which was, and still is, open to HMC schools. In 1967 Mike Corry was appointed as the first OR golf secretary and a Rydal team was entered into the Grafton Morrish tournament and reached the final, narrowly losing 2-1 to Charterhouse.
In 1970 Guy Watson succeeded Mike Corry as secretary. In the 70s and 80s the Rydal team reached the semi-final of the Grafton Morrish three times.
In the latter part of the century and the start of the 21st century, the team fared less well but in 2010 the team once again qualified for the finals at Hunstanton. More competitions were introduced and the past pupils now also compete annually for:
In 2021, Guy Watson was succeeded in the position by his son, Richard Watson.
It seems that 1888 saw the first properly organised cricket at Rydal Mount and success came quite soon thereafter. In 1891, the Cricket XI was unbeaten in ten matches and another unbeaten season followed in 1901.
In 1906, the Top Field Pavilion was opened and in 1915, Coupe and Moulsdale had a record partnership of 258 in a match v Epworth College where the school won with a score of 258 for 0.
Cricket at Rydal was greatly helped by, in 1923, the acquisition of New Field. The field was levelled by teams of staff and pupils in 1923-24 and was quickly established as a cricket ground of the highest quality with an excellent wicket and outfield, combined with a beautiful location. (some photos of this work are on display in the pavilion today).
The second event of 1923 which proved very beneficial to Rydal cricket was the arrival of Donald Boumphrey, a gifted and inspiring coach of both cricket and rugby, who devoted himself to the school for over forty years.
Between 1927-35, ten Old Rydalians went on to play County Cricket: HRW Butterworth, A Ratcliffe, W Wooler, R Wooler, DL Hughes, JG Costain, G Elson, J Lewis, TC Lunt and GE Hartley; others also attained very high standards: JK Bibby, JA Bills, KP Griffiths, J Marsden, AE Underwood, EN Kay, AS Wigfield and JW Moorby, to name but a few.
This group of men formed the early core of the Rydal Dolphins’ cricket side that started in 1927. The Dolphins’ team, which replaced the Masters’ team, comprised staff, pupils and former pupils and reflected the new lease of life cricket was experiencing in the school at the time.
The first Dolphins’ match was against Colwyn Bay in 1927, which was the ‘first real season’ for cricket on New Field.
The Dolphins’ first tour was to Liverpool in 1927. Between 1931-38, the Rydal Dolphins enjoyed an annual tour in the South of England playing sides in Kent and Sussex, including Sussex 2nd XI, Gravesend, Eastbourne and Hastings; in the three years 1932-35 they were unbeaten.
After the War, there was a tour to Yorkshire in 1945 and one to Kent in 1946. From 1948-59, the Dolphins toured counties in South West England including Worcester, Gloucester, Somerset and Devon. Then in 1962, two years after a tour in Scotland, the players decided they were missing out on their beginnings and the decision was made to arrange a series of games at New Field for up to two weeks at the beginning of the summer holiday… and there it has stayed. Traditional opponents have included Nantwich, Cheshire Wayfarers, Bury, Shrewsbury Saracens and Colwyn Bay.
In the last 48 years, there have been changes in the personnel and the programme of matches but the essence of the Rydal Dolphins has stayed.
It is gratifying to see today’s loyal support for the Dolphins on behalf of the school players, Old Boys and Common Room for what has been, and still is, a ‘great cricketing institution’.
The Rydal Vikings Club was officially formed in 1945 with Reverend AJ Costain as the President, D Boumphrey as the Treasurer and EF Richards as the Secretary. By 1950, a group of good players was established with no fewer than seven internationals, five blues and 17 county players. Jim Parsons and RE Bibby were experienced England international players; RA Pinnington and JA Gregory were amongst the fastest wingers in the UK and Bleddyn Williams, the brilliant Welsh international, played in the centre with AD Morphy who was also an outstanding player.
Three members of Common Room played regularly for the Vikings: Donald Crook, John Pepper and David Pollard. Teams consisted of a mixture of Old Rydalians, staff, members of the School XV and occasional guest players.
The most memorable game was in 1951 when, thanks to Bleddyn Williams, a Cardiff XV played a match against the Vikings on New Field, winning 13-17.
Birkenhead Park, Wilmslow, Liverpool University, Old Wallaseyians and North Wales were regular opponents and in the late 50s and early 1960s D Diamond, AD Johnson, IA Stewart, KRF Bearne (Scotland), CR Jennins (England), TS Fletcher, TV Vincent, DR Williams and TL Williams were the outstanding players but because of changing social and employment practices it became increasingly difficult to raise sides even midweek.
In 1963, there was a good 19-9 win against North Wales. Old Wallaseyians won 10-9 in 1965. In 1966 the Vikings could not raise a good enough side and there was a two-year break. In 1969 a revitalised North Wales won 19-14.
Between 1946 and 1970 the Club’s record was played 29, won 21, lost 5, and drawn 3. Then for the decade of the 1970s, the Vikings remained moribund.
In 1984, Bleddyn Williams was appointed President with PN McLaren as Secretary and D Pollard as Treasurer. The match against Waterloo in 1984 was lost 37-15. In 1985, there was a delightful Centenary game against a South Wales team assembled by Bleddyn Williams and in 1987 Gary Williams and Mike Leach stood out in a 21-30 defeat against the Anti Assassins.
In 1997, a game was arranged against a very competitive Gwynedd XV which was lost 46-35 on New Field with some very exciting rugby played. Also in 1997, a new fixture against Old Ellesmerians was won 40-19 in November.
The Vikings have played a Waterloo XV, Old Ellesmerians, the Anti Assassins, Colwyn Bay XV and in the 2009/10 season, two matches against Gogledd Cymru (formerly North Wales Rugby Club). The first match against Gogledd at New Field on 20 September was won by the Vikings 33-22 and the second match on 27 December 2009, at Colwyn Bay RFC for the Bleddyn Williams Cup, was won by Gogledd 29-5.