Philip Sawyer

I joined WRFC in 1953. At that time the Club had its HQ at the Old Talbot in Sidbury and played on rented pitches including Perdiswell. There were four teams who played every week: I played for all the lower three at one time or another. In those days the Evening News and Times published a list of players in each team for the coming weekend.

Later I became joint Hon Sec with John Wilmott.

The Club acquired its own ground at Bevere, a landlocked site big enough for two pitches. The only access was a drive way from Grange Avenue off Ombersley. The players dug the foundations for a single storey second hand exWD concrete framed building.

The pitches were very stony and players were given a tin to pick up stones before each match. Eventually, with advice from the Min of Agriculture and free topsoil from the sugar beet factory at Kidderminster, we were able to spread two inches of topsoil over both pitches.

As time went on the Club needed to improve its facilities. By this time, 1972, I was a Chartered Surveyor working in Worcester. Acting on behalf of the Club I agreed to buy 15 Bevere Close, one of the houses on the Club's West boundary. The plot was wide enough to build an estate road so that the ground could be developed for housing. On 22nd November 1972 planning permission was granted for "Proposed use of ground for residential development and construction of an estate road..."

The problem then was to find a new ground. I chartered a plane, with pilot, from Staverton Airport and with Ted Bumham, a Club member who I had known since Rowing Club days after the War, flew all round Worcester with a map marking off potential sites. Ultimately a field, close to M5 junction 6, seemed the best choice. Negotiations for planning permission were lengthy as, due to the Northern Link and the other road frontages, the Dept of Transport wanted us to put a 20 feet high fence right round the site but finally they were persuaded to drop the idea.

On 1st August 1973 Outline Planning Permission was granted for "Proposed Rugby ground at Warndon"

The next question was the value of agricultural land with permission for use for rugby. There were no comparable transactions locally so I asked the District Valuer (the Government valuer) to make a national search. This suggested twice agricultural value and a deal was done with the vendor. I then sold the Bevere ground to developers and the Club completed the purchase of the new site. On 6th March 1974 Planning Permission was granted for "Proposed Rugby ground, car park, club house, access road, sewage plant."

There were fewer cars in 1974 and there was some criticism that the ground was too far from Worcester: time is a great healer.

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Rugby at Worcester since 1871

Worcester Greyhounds - 1963
Worcester Rugby Football Club Colts - 1979
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - 1956/57
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - 1890's
Ladies Night 1958 - Bevere
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - 1971
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - 1920's
Worcester Rugby Football Club First XV - Promotion 1990