All about Canvey Island Rugby Union Football Club
part of the Canvey Island community since 1970
“Hello and welcome to Canvey Island Rugby Club!”
We are a tight knit community rugby club, small in stature but big in heart. We currently run 3 senior men’s sides, a Touch rugby side, have over 200+ youth and mini players with around 25 coaches and we are very proud to have formed our first female rugby side (the Valkyries) in 2022.
We believe rugby is the greatest team sport around and there is something within it for everyone, here’s why…
(excuse the pun), Watching your children play on a Sunday and regret not having a go yourself? A former player who misses playing, wants to keep fit and misses the social life? Then we have a great ‘FREE’ Touch rugby program available to ALL on Friday evenings during the summer!
Need a fresh start at a different club? Having trouble transitioning from junior /colt rugby to senior? We have 3 senior men’s sides ready to cater for all abilities and experience levels.
Our youth rugby is one of the cheapest around and your child will learn the game of rugby with RFU qualified and DBS checked coaches! There is a position for everyone in rugby, big, small, fast, slow, male and female.
around and we work closely with our local schools to support after schools clubs.
as a coach, referee, volunteer? Whatever the capacity, we can help you on that journey.
Our club is growing and continues to help and provide for the people of this community as it has done over the last 50 years!
Come and be a part of it
History of the Club...
the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
Where it all began
“Our club was founded in November 1970”
by a small group of local players who wanted to play rugby locally instead of travelling to clubs situated off the Island.
Canvey played their first game with just 13 players wearing some borrowed shirts. Remarkably they won 18-0 against Mid Essex Tech at Chelmsford.
Without a ground or a clubhouse, all games were played away, and by 1978 the club had begun to field three sides.
In 1979 after much work the club was granted two pitches at its current home of Tewkes Creek. Shortly afterwards in 1983, in a huge joint effort by many club members, a clubhouse was built!
“The club had now transformed from being a pub-based rugby side to a club with its own facilities"
In the late 1980’s a link between the Essex Education Authority and Cardiff College, saw an influx of Welsh PE Teachers ‘don’ the Red & Blue hoops of Canvey.
With the help of these players Canvey began their rise up the league system, culminating in playing in London 3NE and reaching their first Essex Cup Final. It was here in 1989 that they lost by one point to Chingford.
These teachers also sparked an interest in rugby for the lads at the local schools they were teaching in. Cornelius Vermuyden, Furtherwick Park & Castle View.
As a result the club had a small, but promising colts side come through to take over the reins. They managed to keep the club in the London leagues for a good few seasons and managed another cup final. This time they met Campion, where again Canvey were beaten.
Towards the late 1990’s early 2000’s, this side started to break up and a void was left. Canvey endured a series of relegations and found themselves wallowing in Essex 2. It was a difficult time for the club.
"Tough times don’t last but tough people do"
In 2004 a new young group of players, sprinkled with a dash of experience gave the club its most successful period ever.
They achieved an unbeaten record of 24 games and were unbeaten at home for two years. This side became the first Canvey team to win the Essex Cup and get to back to back finals. They are also the first Canvey side to win a League and Cup ‘double’
This side stayed together for most of the decade and made their way from Essex 2 to London 2 NE. As the sun set on this era, there was little coming through to the seniors by way of the youth system.
In 2017 the club turned its attention to developing its youth section to address this cyclic issue they constantly face. In two years the club have gone from 7 to over 200 registered youth players. The clubs youth section has won national awards for their work and the club has a positive future.
With the senior rugby landscape changing, the club have started to attract new senior players from clubs outside of the area. As a result in 2019 the club was able to field 3 x Men’s senior sides for the first time in over 10yrs!
“The Valkyries - our first all female rugby team"
Sunday 16th April 2023 became an historic date for Canvey Island Rugby Union Football Club.
For the first time in their 53 year period, the club fielded it’s first ever full female side!
The side known as the “Canvey Valkyries” took on a side made up of 26 players from Witham with around 8 players from Rochford RFC in front of a huge home crowd at Tewkes Creek.
On a warm sunny day the ladies from both sides took to the field after the U14 warm up game between Canvey and Basildon. Witham started the game quickly and put an early score on the board. This score helped to focus the ladies from Canvey, and the side started to organise themselves and build into their phases of play. The scrum looked solid behind Alison Pankhurst, Captain Becky Hayes and Sarah Poole. Canvey made some good headway into the opposition half with Sam Appleby linking up with her daughter Emma in the second row. Witham opted to pick around the rucks looking for opportunities but were often met with the door slammed shut by flanker Siobhan Chapman and No.8 Helen Caulfield.
When a loose ball found its way to the ground, Witham reacted first and scored a second try against the run of play. Canvey stepped it up a gear with flyhalf Kate Partridge taking charge using the ball to bring wingers Nikki Pycraft and Christina Heaton into the game. Strong carries from fullback Natalie Hoodless gave the Islanders the push they needed.
The Valkyries rang in the changes looking to make the most of the opportunity to get as many people game time as possible. Nikki Drake stepped in as hooker, with the prop pairing of Fay Lawerence and Sascha Souto looking to exert their dominance in the scrum. The pairing of Becca Pinsent and Kerry Bushell provided the strength in the second row.
Lisa Downing was unleashed on the opposition, clearly enjoying the physicality of the game. Youngsters Macy Taylor and Jazmine Faulkner brought energy to the pack.
Witham reacted to the changes positively with some strong runs at the heart of the Canvey defence. Stephanie Jenkins & Nicola Dorrington stood firm on more than one occasion, repelling the Witham attacks with force. Scrum half Abby Partridge marshalled her forward pack and started to provide the backs with some ball to play with. Zoe Marchant-Williams & Debbie Monk linked up well. Monk made several charges forward into space including a 40m run that brought the cheers from the crowd. This inspired wingers Joanne Hogg & Rachel Hastelow to start carrying ball. Robyn O’Toole started to find space at fullback and the team started to fire. Siobhan McCullagh came on to make her debut and there was real buzz around the team.
The game was an arm wrestle throughout and despite Witham scoring again, the ladies from Canvey never once put their heads down.
The catalyst for the comeback came in the form of a try saving tackle from flanker Leah Reeve. A 50m cross field sprint from a scrum, saw the open side flanker take out Witham’s dangerous fullback just meters from the line. The cheer from the crowd as the impact was made sparked the home side.
Scrum half Lucy Breading sped up the play at the rucks and Canvey got on the front foot. Hard carries from Chapman, Caulfield & Dorrington tied in the Witham defence. Breading found Reeve who made a 20m charge before being brought down. From the quick ball available, Lucy found the ever dangerous Gemma Savage. Gemma needed no second invitation to run. The centre took the ball at pace, before carving a hole in the defence to exploit. The closer to the line she got the louder the cheers from the crowd. Gemma went over the whitewash to write her name in history as the first ever try scorer for the Canvey Valkyries. Skipper Beck Hayes stepped up for the conversion and coolly slotted the ball home for the extra 2pts.
Sensing the momentum was shifting Canvey went for it. From Witham’s own lineout, Leah Reeve snatched the ball from the opposition and went on another charge deep into the oppositions 22.
Under pressure, the away side turned the ball over at the next phase and kicked the ball away in an effort to clear their line.
As the ball went up, Lucy Breading positioned herself underneath it. As the crowd drew breath, Breading caught the ball 25m out from Witham’s try line. The speedy scrum half made them pay, with a searing run through the defence, not too dissimilar to someone else with the same last name 15yrs or so ago…
As Lucy touched the ball down she was met by the embrace and cheers of her fellow players. Becky Hayes yet again slotted the extras with another well struck kick. As the ball sailed over, the final whistle was blown, and 31 history makers celebrated with family and friends.
After the game, Club Director of Rugby & Head Coach of the Ladies had this to say
“I honestly could not be prouder of each and every lady that played on Sunday. Only one of the 31 players that represented us had ever played rugby before. The rest were completely new to the game. Watching from the side-lines you would never have known that we’d only been together for 8 months. On a personal level, I would like to thank the faith the girls placed in me, the support of the club to facilitate this venture and the unbelievable support that cheered every tackle, every pass and every run. I honestly have never seen a crowd that large at our place in all the time I have played and coached at the club. Each lady that played had their own personal reason for doing so. Along with the support they received also came a fair amount of pressure. They all handled it fantastically and celebrated in true style afterwards. It’s illustrated to me again, that rugby remains the ultimate team game and still has that ability to pull together individuals of different backgrounds, situations, and circumstances, in a way that doesn’t exist in other forms of society. The club, the local community, our sponsors and of course the girls we have playing at our club, now have a fantastic team to look up to and get behind. So my thanks to these women and we all look forward to the next one.”
Canvey Island Valkyries:
Alison Pankhurst, Becky Hayes, Sarah Poole, Sam Appleby, Emma Appleby, Rebecca Pinsent, Siobhan Chapman, Leah Reeve, Helen Caulfield, Lucy Breading, Kate Partridge, Nikki Pycraft, Zoe Marchant-Williams, Gemma Savage, Christina Heaton, Natalie Hoodless, Fay Lawerence, Nikki Drake, Sasha Souto, Kerry Bushell, Jazmine Faulkner, Macy Taylor, Lisa Downing, Abbie Partridge, Stephanie Jenkins, Joanne Hogg, Nicole Dorrington, Debbie Monk, Rachel Hastelow, Siobhan McCullagh, Robyn O’Toole
well someone has to do it
As everyone who has been involved with a club knows, it doesn’t run itself. It takes dedication, commitment and enthusiasm from volunteers across a broad spectrum to keep it all going. Fortunately, that’s exactly what what we have here, at Canvey Island RUFC.
Other Volunteer Roles
kids for a quid.... we're not kidding!
Being a family orientated grass roots club, we aim to set membership prices as low as we can, whilst maintaining high standards and quality in all we do / provide. Value for money to our members is a key priority and we work tirelessly to ensure this is the case.
To make life easier for everyone involved, we have taken the bold step to incorporate all match day and training fees into your yearly membership. After the successful trial with our family memberships, we have decided to offer monthly payments to all of our Memberships.
Go to the club shop to purchase a membership.
(please note, by buying a Membership to the club, you are agreeing to abide by the Club Rules and associated Club Policies).
Adult + Youth Membership
Player + Child
Membership to the greatest little rugby club doesn’t just mean you’ll have a great time playing and socialising, your pocket will have a good time too. Our Committee has worked hard to obtain discounts from wonderful partners. So long as your membership in up to date (and yes, they will ask us) then you could enjoy the benefits outlined below: