Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club certainly has a lot to cheer about this year after winning the league and now preparing for its 80th anniversary.
Celebrations started early for some on June 6 with the annual summer ball, a sell-out each year. A sponsored spectacular fireworks display made sure celebrations kicked off with a bang.
The glamorous ball has been a regular fixture for the Buzzards, raising cash to provide rugby for all ages in the community of Leighton Buzzard and surrounding villages.
Plenty is happening during the closed season with a rugby Olympics event planned for anniversary weekend on July 27. Club mascot Buster the Buzzard is expecting a couple of Premiership chums along to cheer on the antics so why not go along to Wrights Meadow and join in the fun.
The club has come a long way since it was founded in 1934 with its close ties to Cedars Grammar School in Church Square (now Leighton Middle School).
For many years the club played at Capshill Meadow, but then thanks to Howard Ansdell and Geoff Wright, the ground was sold and the club set up home in Stanbridge Road where it continues to thrive today fielding four adult sides on a Saturday afternoon, a ladies team, a colts side, and a mini and juniors section catering for youngsters aged 6-16 year olds.
Honours over the years have been numerous:
RFU Midlands Division 2 East (south) Level 7 Champions 2013/14.
RFU East Midlands Colts League Champions 2011.
RFU National Colts Plate champions 2009.
RFU East Midlands Colts League Champions 2006/07.
RFU East Midlands Referees Cup (Colts County Cup) winners 2006/07.
East Midlands Cup winners 1985/86, 86/87, 94/95.
RFU Midlands Division 2 (Level 6) Champions 1994/95.
Buzzards have had their fair share of players with top level experience. Home-grown by Buzzards are Stuart Maxwell, John Surguy, Chris Gibbons, Pete Ellam, John Davidson and Paul Evans.
International acclaim has been achieved by Bert Yirrell (England U16s) and Neil Wise (Luxembourg), while Harry Peck, George Messum and Mark Lingard are still making the grade – all pulling on an England shirt for England schools and students’ sides.
A club spokesman said: “Preparations for the new season are taking shape with friendly matches starting at the club on August 22 with a home fixture against Aylesbury, followed by Letchworth on August 30.
“The first home match in the new league, the South West 1 East, is on September 13. Why not go along and cheer on the Buzzards? Or why not dig out those old rugby boots, sign up to the club and play for one of the adult sides?”
Pictured above is the very first Buzzards team from 1934.
The spokesman added: “Do you recognise your relatives? Why not trace your ancestor’s steps and go along to Wrights Meadow where a warm welcome to all awaits.”
More details on the club’s website www.buzzardrugby.co.uk