Eccles Rugby Football Club’s first registration as a member of the Lancashire County RFU was in 1886. Membership then lapsed but was revived in 1899. At a General Committee meeting in September 1983 it was unanimously agreed that the official inaugural year of the Club should be recorded as 1897 based on evidence of continuous fixtures from that date. The Club therefore held its Centenary season during 1997-98.
Between 1897 and 1914 Eccles built up a position as a formidable team containing several County players and having regular fixtures against the likes of Sale, Broughton Park, Manchester, Bowdon Rangers, Harrogate, Furness, Vale of Lune, Nottingham, Waterloo, Kendal, Birkenhead Park, New Brighton and Preston Grasshoppers. During this period Eccles played at various venues and used the accommodation of a few friendly hostelries to facilitate changing and refreshments. Eccles abandoned fixtures on 4th September 1914 due to the outbreak of hostilities with Germany.
Fixtures were resumed in 1919 but fixtures and status fell below that achieved prior to the Great War, not least due to the tragic loss of a number of players. On the plus side Eccles found a stable base from 1925 – 1948 on farmland just over Barton Bridge by the Manchester Ship Canal. A hut was erected along with a hot water boiler and bath, which eventually developed into a Clubhouse. Unfortunately, fixtures were again to be interrupted due to War in 1939.
Eccles resumed fixtures in the 1946 – 47 season and in 1948 moved to their present location in Gorton St, Peel Green Eccles. Playing standards haven’t yet quite reached the heady days of those achieved at the start of the last century but the club has set down firm roots having fielded up to five adult teams and ran a Colts team during the last fifty years.
Due to the success of the junior section and the emergence of the women’s team, the club was awarded a Lottery grant in 2002 for mixed use changing facilities, increased training lighting and other various ancillary improvements. In 2003 the Club extended and refurbished the Clubhouse in order to accommodate the swelling ranks. An all weather pitch was installed in 2004 funded by the the RFU and government, in appreciation for our commitment to community rugby.
The Club’s endeavours over the last 15 years regarding facilities and Juniors have resulted in representation for England Schools at U16s level in 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 and also England U18s 2007-2008.
In 2009-2010 the First XV gained promotion to the North Lancs/Cumbria league (level 7) as well as winning the Lancashire Plate for the first time in the Club’s history. Last season they finished a respectable third, just missing out on promtion.
Due to the ongoing growth, particularly with Juniors, Colts and Girls teams the Club have just completed the ground and first floor extension and associated alterations to provide two new en-suite changing rooms, wheelchair lift, stairs, new referees changing rooms, upgraded communal shower area, relocated and enlarged gym, seminar room, kitchen extension and viewing balcony.