Featured Articles (9)
Wednesday afternoon rugby nowadays is mainly the preserve of schools, universities and armed forces but for a brief period back in the 1960s Plymouth Argaum had its own midweek side. As part of our 125th Year Celebrations we take a look at the story behind The Plymouth Argaum Barbarians, a side drawn together from all sections of society to play this great game of ours. Part 1 looks at the side's origins and its first tough season.
A Marked Improvement: 1963-64
The season opened on September 4th at Manadon against RNEC IV and Barbarians improved playing resources meant that the published line-up included two reserves;
In this article we look back at the origins of the Annual Match v OPMs and the close relationship between the two clubs. In the early part of the century Argaum were used to travelling on Boxing Day including visits to the likes of Exeter Reserves and Teignmouth. However, our story takes us back over 85 years to the season 1926-27, when seven Argaum players left the club to form the new OPMs side including one George Wakeham, later to become President of both Plymouth Albion and Devon RFU.
When asked to pen some Argaum memories for the 125th Anniversary season I thought “How can a single essay do justice to the wonderful 38 years that I have played for Argaum?” The answer is of course it can’t but at least there will be something on record. My apologies if something is left out or I have remembered an event incorrectly. You see, some of the times were just so good that I can’t remember them, probably, not even then.
I had an enquiry before Christmas from Bob Browning who played for the club in the 1960s and although not a regular managed to get selected for the Argaum XV against a Devon County side in April 1962. The match was part of the club's 75th Anniversary Celebrations. Bob, a former St Boniface pupil and now resident in Bournemouth, takes up the story.
At the last PAPPA reunion in December 2018 we were very grateful to be presented with a record of the 1966-67 season by Bill Ryan. Bill was Argaum's 1st XV skipper that season and kept an account of the season complete with his own summaries and observations from each match.
It's just about 60 years ago that Argaum started work on building the clubhouse. With the help of donations, an RFU loan and an awful lot of hard work the club were in possession of their own facilities for the first time in their history, a facility the envy of many at the time.
Union Street is a place that has undergone massive change in recent years and you may have noticed that the building once occupied by Feneck’s Military Tailors is now home to Sloggett & Son, ‘Seller of Interesting Things’. Last year I was reading an article about the shop, which sells a range of vintage and antique furniture and homeware, when I realised a possible connection with Plymouth Argaum.