|A HISTORY OF PLYMOUTH ARGAUM RFC - 1887-1987|
Summary of the Second 50 Years
To try and summarise Argaumís second fifty years - well 1939-1987 including 7 blank seasons in the war years. Deprived of its Plympton playing pitch, the Club took the field again in 1946-47 and very soon a 2nd XV was again in action which, before too long, blossomed into a 3rd XV. A field at Estover, capable of several pitches was to hand and with a subsequent move from the George Hotel Roborough to the Glenholt Club at Estover. This added lustre, if not luxury to the Clubís facilities. When Plymouth Planning Department decided that all occupants of the Estover area must go, the Club encouraged and induced by Tom Hitchins, moved just beyond the reach of the City boundary and Planners to Bickleigh Down, Roborough and with the same inducement, there set in hand the building of its Clubhouse - the first post war rugby "development" - fortified by permission of the Hitchins family to have the use of several acres of the familyís nearby grazing land as playing pitches. There, in the 1960s the Club achieved what is probably to date, its watershed. Six Saturday sides, plus a midweek fifteen - with some playing success. The subsequent revival of a number of local clubs who had graced Argaumís fixture list in earlier seasons, particularly Ivybridge, Tavistock, Plympton and Bere Alston (several of whom were happily able to field two sides) - considerably restricted Argaumís "catchment" area, to such an extent that for a while the Club was reduced to two XVs plus its Colts, and indeed, for a while the 2nd (Wanderers) XV was pressured to field a full side. Happily, with the inauguration of a Sunday XV, the Drifters have re-emerged as a Saturday XV with a full fixture list, whilst the Colts, despite difficulties, continue and provide all adult sides with the bulk of their players. There appears to be no reason why the Club should not continue indefinitely into the future, having already provided the OPM rugby club 1st XV with a "home" for a short while. Alas, in this the 100th season the Colts have ceased - it is to be hoped but temporarily - to function.
Any progress since 1946 is due to one man and one man only - Thomas Kingdom Hitchins, the second of four generations of Hitchins to have played for the Club - and in this the Clubís centenary year, happily and deservedly, President of Plymouth Argaum R.F.C.
Hon. Secretary in season 1939-40 which did not "take off" Tom, for reasons known only to him, felt himself indebted to the Club for his many happy seasons, where he had spent in his pre-war years. With the coming of peace, he set about repaying that "debt" one thousand fold. In conjunction with Leslie Paul in 1946 he called a public meeting at the Lockyer Hotel, with a view to restoring the Club and - from what sources only he knows - produced shirts and, in the course of time, pitches and goal posts. He continued his role as Hon. Secretary until he saw the Clubís revival safely under way, at which time he decided to withdraw from that post - not, one suspects, without a certain relief as correspondence was never one of his favourite subjects - but willingly continued as mentor, advisor, policy maker, and in fact in any capacity needing help. When the Club was forced to move from Estover, Tom saw possibilities of achieving his ultimate ambition for the Club - that it should have its own permanent headquarters; a meeting place for members past and present. First, he made available to the Club a site at Roborough, and with his many contacts and by personal example, bullied, cajoled and influenced players into thinking they could become builder's labourers. He persuaded the Clubís tame architect Reg Gurling (who needed very little persuading) into drawing submitting and passing plans, talked builders merchants into straining their discounts to extremes and any builders within the club, notably Norman White and Colin Whiting to lend their expertise. Tom, at all times - well in all his spare time - being all things to all people. The result - the Clubhouse - which has steadily expanded over the years and has been in existence for almost 30 seasons, held by the Club trustees free of any - financial charges. In fact the Club lacks but one thing - its own playing field. Thanks to the generosity of the Hitchins family in making their fields available to the Club, this is probably a matter of low priority - which is perhaps to be regretted.