The Hawkesbury Valley Rugby Club is in its 34th Season.
The club was founded in 1987 when the NSWRU were anxious to get the game played in the North West. Rugby Union had been played in the Hawkesbury district until shortly after the First World War but the district then converted to Rugby League and teams from Windsor, Richmond and Riverstone became permanent clubs in the Western Districts junior rugby league with occasional teams from Pitt Town , Londonderry, and Vineyard. The three permanent clubs eventually joined the Penrith Junior league.
John Carroll from the NSWRU was the catalyst behind the formation of HVRC and the initial meeting took place at Richmond. The meeting was attended by a number of rugby players including, Mick Mathers (initial President and First Grade Coach) Ken Fairfax, (Secretary) Adrian Lindo (Treasurer) Ross Cameron (Second Grade Coach and later First Grade Coach) and Bruce Page (Bruce filled many roles for many years including Treasurer).
Mick Mathers a former Australian Player provided profile for the club and led successful delegations to the Council that resulted in McQuade Park being obtained for home games whilst Windsor Bowling Club became the clubs watering hole.
The meeting with NSWRU officials resulted in the club entering the Sydney Rugby Union second division competition being allowed in the first year to enter only three teams in lieu of the required four. The NSWRU were so keen to have the code established that they offered the option of running 2nd, 3rd, 4th grades and bypassing 1st grade in the initial year. This offer was declined.
The clubs next task was to secure players and its first targets were the RAAF Richmond and the defunct Kellyville Rugby Club. In all the club used 137 players in its first season of which about 30 were permanent members. The balance of players being people at the ground who had two legs and wanted to try out the new game.
After the first year player numbers looked bleak however a team of former league players arrived on the scene who although new to the code, soon converted and together with other rugby union men and converts from other sports, HVRC started to win a few games. Even in its second year, at times the club was forced to persuade the 40 year old bus driver to make up the numbers to play for our depleted third grade.
At times when poor results and playing numbers made it difficult and being mismatched against powerful clubs like Port Hacking, Northern Suburbs and Drummoyne the club still struggled on gamely. Moves were made to have the club dropped down to sub-districts level. It was not to be, the desire by the majority of club members was to always play at the highest level. The early resolve shown by the club and its members helped to create the spirit within the club which survives today. The club languished at the bottom of the 1st and 2nd grade competitions until the decision by the SRU First Division clubs to directly affiliate with the NSWRU saw the SRU Second Division merge with the NSWSRU Kentwell Cup Division in 1993, this move gave HVRC its life line.
In season 2019 Hawkesbury continues to play in sub-districts. During this period all grades have had good results with the Third Grade being twice premiers and consistent semi-finalists. 2001 and 2002 being the clubs best years with the top three grades all making the semi-finals and the club finishing 2nd in the 3rd division club championship 2002. In 2007 our 1st & 3rd grade made the finals. In 2018 1st Grade made it to the Preliminary Final.
The club has produced one representative player. Peter Besseling has gone on to play with Sydney University, Canberra Brumbies and the Waratahs.
An encouraging sign for HVRC is a growth in junior players from two teams in 2000 through to having teams from Under 6’s to under 17’s in 2005. Hopefully this will provide HVRC with a steady flow of new players to the senior level who already have the basic skills. This flow of players will be a quantum leap from where HVRC started in 1987.
The clubs improvement and growth is largely due to a committed stable junior & senior committee’s and the ongoing support of our sponsors. HVRC receives good coverage in the local Hawkesbury Gazette. Bringing all the above factors together the future of sub districts rugby in the Hawkesbury area is looking bright.