Seasons 1920 to 1922

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The outbreak of the 1914-18 war put an end to civilian rugby in Plymouth and not until season 1919-20 did reports of civilian rugby reappear in the "locals". The first ascertainable press news of Argaum is for 8th October 1921, showing a result Plymouth Argaum 3 St. Budeaux 0 so that it would seem the club did not re-establish itself until the second post war season. Furthermore, the re-establishment came from a rather improbable source - Plymouth YMCA RFC! C. S. Brewer, who was to become Treasurer, reports "we were playing as the Plymouth YMCA rugby club, with a home ground at Efford, when we were informed there was no longer to be a YMCA rugby club, nor would it be possible to continue playing at Efford. The reason ascribed was that some of the players were not actual members of the YMCA and in any event, did not attend the YM meetings regularly or often enough. We were loathed to disband, as we had the nucleus of a good team and if we could play away, it would solve the ground problem. The next question was a name for the Club. I remembered that in my very young days, there had been a club named Argaum, which comprised fellows in various walks of life and living in the vicinity of Argaum Villas, Stoke. Indeed, the main qualification for membership was to be a good chap first and a good player second. I proposed and it was agreed that we should become Plymouth Argaum, and so the club was re-formed." A variation of C. S. Brewer's reason for the demise of Plymouth YMCA rugby club is offered by T. May, one of the few who helped to re-form the club in the 1920s. "We went away to play Penryn on a Saturday holiday time with a further match on the Monday. We put up a pretty good show and intended stopping at a hostelry in Falmouth. The police demanded admittance after midnight and the bar was still open - the Monday match was cancelled!" This version has been largely confirmed by J. S. Mortimer, another member of the team, save that he attributes the late session to have occurred at Penryn!

There can, in any event, be no possible doubt but that from the ashes of the YMCA arose the phoenix of the post war Plymouth Argaum RFC, corroborated by the fact that for a period there were no further reports of YMCA results and included in the first Argaum selected side published appear no less than and possibly more than, nine players who had previously appeared regularly in the YMCA shirt.

Mr. Bonney was the first post war President, T. Jolly Secretary, C.S Brewer Treasurer and Tommy Heard - could he be related to the "original" Heards - a splendid stand off half was captain Tommy Hayman (Albion and Devon 1910-11) was trainer, committee meetings being held at his house and his good lady laundering the shirts. Amongst former YMCA players now regulars in the Argaum side were Messrs Beer, Blight, Burch, Beever, Daly, Keen, Perry and Thomas.

No fixture cards are available for this early post-war rejuvenation and all matches were, of course, played away Consequently, reports and results are somewhat spasmodic. North Tawton defeated the club 15-0; full back Alf Beer, who over the years put in sterling work, "saved tries in the opening stages". A contemporary describes Alf "he was bald headed and brave - it was marvellous how he could hold a ball and pull his opponents on to him, shouting all the time to the referee that he hadn't got the ball!" Possibly more marvellous, was to what extent the YMCA can instruct one! HMS Indus were beaten 5-0, HMS Impregnable 13-0, R.N. Barracks 8-0 and Salcombe 0-8 and 3-5 in the return - the first report of a remarkable series of results against the South Hams club. Results continued, with St. Budeaux 13-0 followed by a visit to Barnstaple where "Barum had out a strong scrum, losing 0-3 at half time, the visitors appeared to greater advantage with bustling work by their forwards and really giving Barnstable an anxious time. There was not a lot to choose between the two sets of forwards and Barnstaple hardly deserved their win by 2 tries to nil".

Additional Info

  • Update To Centenary History: 1921/22 Records show that the RNEC Cup was won with T.Heard as captain & W.Jolley as Hon Sec
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