The 60s and 70s

Banbridge RFC 1960s and 70s team picture

Banbridge RFC 1960s and 70s

Off the field the Club moved home – or rather hotel – moving from the yard of the Imperial Hotel in Bridge Street to converted stables at the rear of the Downshire Arms Hotel in Newry Street in January 1969.

The 1961 AGM heard the Secretary report a poor season with several good Club members having left the area. The following year it was reported that training was very poor with only four players availing themselves of the indoor facilities at the Intermediate School, and some matches had to be cancelled because of late cry-offs.

Although social and fund-raising activities continued apace during this time the playing side remained in the doldrums and by the late 60’s only two teams were being fielded. However at the 1971 AGM the Hon. Sec. K.McElroy said that the past season would be remembered as the one when the tide began to turn for the teams, with the First XV captained by David Ledlie having finished in the top half of Junior Section Four.

The following season a 3rd XV was fielded on occasions and at the AGM the question of purchasing grounds was discussed. After a temporary lapse in ‘72-’74, the 3rd XV started under Sam Lytle and re-joined the League in ‘75-’76. From then membership continued to swell and since the late 70’s the Club has fielded five adult XV’s in league competition.

The First XV earned promotion in ‘74-’75 and again in ‘79-’80 and there was similar success for teams down the Club. In the period from 1977-81 there were seven promotions for the teams.