Summary of the First 50 Years.

With a pause in the Club’s playing activities for some seven years due to circumstances beyond its control, it is perhaps not inappropriate to summarise its progress over roughly its first fifty years. How, or why the Club formed remains something of a mystery unless it was the wish of the young men of Stoke to form their own side, although in 1901 a team containing the names of many of the Argaum "Originals" made a - one - off appearance as the United Banks, no prior reports seem to be available. That a Club, with for practically 50 years without a ground of its own and with no particularly outstanding playing success, should hold together for so many seasons , sometimes as one side, sometimes as two, must be a reflection of the remarkable Club Spirit that pervaded throughout the pre-World War 2 years and thereafter encouraged and maintained by Tom Hitchins, is truly remarkable. In the words of Mr Beever, the first post-World War 1 Treasurer, "The Club comprised fellows in all walks of life - the main qualification being a good chap first and a good player second". Following their re-emergence from the YMCA side the Club was fortunate thereafter to have Leslie Paul for its secretary under whose influence it steadily progressed even to the extent of two XVs for several seasons. Regular Committee meetings were held at Leslie’s home - doubtless courtesy of his lady Wife - and she herself undertook the supervision of the laundering of the shirts, (Usually for two sides) and in an era before automatic washing machines! Leslie was succeeded as secretary by Peter Matthews who attributed his appointment to the fact that his Offices were conveniently positions to (a) The Sawdust Club (Nicholson) a very popular licensed meeting place and (b) Boots Café - both in pre-war George Street, the latter a rendez-vous for those who wished to placate their girlfriends; however, team secretary on Saturday mornings was Peter’s secretary Elizabeth Brown who would heartlessly transfer members at the Club’s need from a game in say Plymouth with its nine cinemas and four theatres to some obscure destination in Devon or Cornwall - which very possibly accounted for the necessity of Boots Café! One other thing from this period of 27 reported XV results v Salcombe, 26 resulted in wins for the South Hams side, the other being drawn.

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