Derby days: rugby clubs face some bumper autumn fixtures

Ready for action: the areas local rugby clubs are hard at work ready for the new season

RUGBY ROUND-UP: The publication of the club fixture lists has added some extra edge to some pre-season training, reports BRIAN MORE-ORLESS

The rugby clubs in and around Croydon could be in for some hectic times in their clubhouses and bars over the coming months, after the blazers at Twickenham released their fixtures this week which in one division will see 20 local derbies to be played across the coming season.

That means that for each of the local clubs in the top county league for Surrey, eight of their scheduled 22 league matches this season will have “derby” status, with more than just the usual division points on the line.

The 2023-2024 club rugby season is due to kick off on Saturday September 16, when the first big clash of neighbouring clubs comes at the Clockhouse, Woodmansterne, where Old Walcountians are due to face Trinity in Counties 1 Surrey/Sussex.

These were the two sides to survive last season’s gruelling and testing fixture list, eventually finishing seventh and eighth, respectively, of the 10 clubs that managed to complete their games – the “Counts” having won narrowly the last meeting between the sides in March: 15-12.

Warlingham’s relegation from that division, after more than 20 years playing in regional leagues, has really spiced things up in what most people know as “Surrey 1”, but which in Twickenhamspeak is now referred to as “Counties 2 Surrey”.

Powerplays: Purley-JOhn Fisher face eight derby fixtures in their league games this term

Warlingham find themselves alongside three of their local rivals… four, if you include Old Caterhamians.

With home and away games coming up between those two clubs plus Purley-John Fisher, Old Whitgiftians and Chipstead, it means that there are a total of 20 derby days coming up in that league between September and next March.

That could mean an awful lot of beer being drunk in the next six or seven months… will the local breweries be up to the challenge?

The first of those Surrey 1 battles for local bragging rights comes at Chipstead on September 16, when a much-changed Warlingham will be the visitors.

A week later (September 23), Purley-John Fisher host Old Whits at Parsons Pightle, while Warlingham are on the road again, this time at Old Cats.

October 14 could be a date to fix in diaries now, as that will be when Warlingham host PJF at Hamsey Green, to renew one of the bitterest of local rivalries.

You have to delve deep down the divisions to find the one-time most senior local rugby club, Streatham-Croydon, who this season will be playing in Counties 4 Surrey at FRant Road.

Their first game is at Harlequin Amateurs on September 16; the first action of the season in Thornton Heath is the following Saturday, when Cranleigh are the visitors.

Counties 5 Surrey is pretty much as low as you can go in senior rugby in these parts, and that’s where Croydon (what used to be Shirley Wanderers, based on Addington Road) will be playing this season.

They get a bit of derby fixture action themselves, with Merton, Old Suttonians and Mitcham and Carshalton also practising their rucking and mauling in the same division.

Croydon start the season on September 16 at home versus Wandsworthians.

Read more: Warlingham go from top to bottom at the flick of a blazer’s pen

For mini rugby, junior rugby and the senior game, women and girls as well as men and boys, contact your local clubs here:

  • If you have a news story about life in or around Croydon, or want to publicise your residents’ association or business, or if you have a local event to promote, please email us with full details at
  • As featured on Google News Showcase
  • Our comments section on every report provides all readers with an immediate “right of reply” on all our content
  • ROTTEN BOROUGH AWARDS: Croydon was named among the country’s rottenest boroughs for a SIXTH successive year in 2022 in the annual round-up of civic cock-ups in Private Eye magazine

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Croydon RFC, Old Mid-Whitgiftians/Trinity RFC, Old Walcountians, Old Whitgiftians, Purley-John Fisher, Rugby Union, Sport, Streatham-Croydon RFC, Warlingham RFC and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply