12:00am Friday 18th October 2013
By Tim Wellock
ROB Andrew will be back on home ground tomorrow as guest speaker at Darlington's 150th anniversary dinner.
Based at Twickenham as the RFU's head of elite rugby since his days as boss of Newcastle Falcons, the former England fly half was raised at Middleton Tyas, near Scotch Corner.
RFU president Bob Reeves will also be at the dinner, which is to be held in the Blackwell Meadows clubhouse.
Darlington is the oldest club in the North-East, having been formed on October 18, 1863, when the committee of Darlington Cricket Club held a special meeting to discuss the problem of members who drifted away during the winter.
The club's president, Mr T B Speciall, proposed that "a club be formed to play football according to the rugby code."
The first captain was Tom Watson, an all-round sportsman whose family owned a saddlery business in the town.
In 1872 Darlington played a Northumberland side on the cricket ground at Newcastle, and when the first Durham v Yorkshire match was organised the following year the whole of the Durham side was made up of Darlington men.
In the 1920s and 1930s the club produced several county players, including the late Tarn Bainbridge, who was president of the RFU in 1975.
Stockton Rugby Club have created a junior girls section with backing from Durham RFU.
More than 50 girls have been receiving coaching at schools in the town from Durham coaches, including Stockton player Lewis Gray, and 14 are now regularly attending sessions at the club.
Durham RFU Community Rugby Coach Jon Benson, helped Stockton to set up the girls section and they are gearing up to play in the Northern District Girls' tournament at Ryton on Sunday.
The event is the first club competition involving girls teams from across Northumberland, Durham and Cumbria.
Stockton chairman Graham Newton said: "The creation of a girls section is an exciting time for the club as it opens participation to the whole community. Stockton is a family club with a proud heritage and we look forward to watching the girls develop their skills and enjoy playing the game with the many new friends they will make along the way."
Stockton are seeking sponsors of the girls section to support the long term development. Anyone interested in being involved should contact commercial manager Owain Jenkins (01707 281007).
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