Club History


17TH AUGUST 1909


The Choccos

now we are…

A Rugby Club in the heart of Birmingham, competing in National League 2 West.  With 4 senior sides, including our thriving Women’s team, a popular M&Js section and a dedicated Community department
The rugby section of the Bournville Athletic Club was established on 17th August 1909, when 22 members showed a strong interest in taking up the game. So it was that workers from Cadbury’s chocolate factory in Bournville village founded Bournville RFC.

Donning the chocolate colours and captained by Mr J Paddison, the team won more games than they lost in the first year, playing 23 matches, 20 were won, 2 lost and 1 drawn, with 319 points for and 70 against. By the second season the team lost only 4 matches.

By 1910-11 BRFC entered the competition for the Midland Counties Rugby Cup and reached the third round. In 1911-12 they set up another record: they were not beaten at home and lost only 8 out of the 22 matches. In 1910 a successful 2nd team was formed under the captaincy of Mr S J Robotham.

The original Bournville RFC sides consisted entirely of Cadbury’s employees and the company would traditionally award caps to players. Gradually through the years, other players from outside the Cadbury’s family joined the club, whose seasons consisted of friendly matches against local rivals such as Five Ways Old Edwardian, Selly Oak and most notably, Kings Norton.


During the 1960’s Bournville achieved famous results, the player base within this period was still heavily reliant on Cadbury employees and notable players for the club during this period included Dave Kappler and John Sutherland, now Executive Finance Director and Chief Executive respectively at Cadbury Schweppes PLC, Both are now Vice Presidents of Bournville RFC.


The 1970s saw the birth of the Bournville RFC Colts side and included many players that were to go on and represent the club’s 1st team with distinction. These players were involved in the club’s most successful period the 1980’s before the official rugby leagues were formed. The club played in Merit Tables which were sponsored by the radio station BRMB.


Official league tables were formed in the late 1980s. However, the league formation coincided with a less successful period in Bournville’s history as playing numbers dwindled and the standard of rugby players fell.


In the early 1990s the club faced a difficult future with poor league results, uncertainty over it’s future at Rowheath and falling numbers in players. To boost the game’s popularity the club’s Colts section was reformed by Neil Suddaby using players from local schools. The management of this side was taken over by Ivor Boehmer, who has almost single-handedly run the Junior Section of Bournville RFC for over 12 years. He is still to be found out on the field every Sunday morning.

Despite falling player numbers in nearly all local clubs, Bournville has managed to maintain 3 Senior sides which is a far cry from the 6 sides of the mid-80s but admirable when one realises that other local Clubs are having to merge to stay in existence.

2000 – 2019

After 100 years of rugby at Rowheath, the Club moved to the Edgbaston Campus of The University of Birmingham, known as Bournbrook, with the associated social facilities at the Munrow Sports Centre.  In 2018, the Club shed its nomadic stance, moving to train and play at one of Birmingham’s premier Rugby facilities, Avery Fields Sports & Events. Avery Fields is a £5 Million sports and community hub open to all. The sports club is offering a state-of-the-art all-weather pitch, two grass pitches and a large function suite with a café/bar, all of which are available for hire. Our ground is just off Hagley Road at 79 Sandon Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B17 8DT.

2020 – Present

Founding members of Worcestershire and Herefordshire and affiliated to the North Midlands Rugby Football Union, Bournville has gone from strength to strength, particularly during the 21st century, where the Club has achieved unprecedented success, gaining promotion in four consecutive seasons. The Club has transcended from Level 10 to the current Level 4 of the massive league pyramid of Rugby Union that begins with a broad, solid base and rises to the pinnacle of an England cap awarded to the gifted few.

The meteoric rise of the Club continues and, after a convincing victory over Paviors of Nottingham in the Midlands Premier League game in March 2020, Bournville entered National League Rugby joining National League 2 North in the 2021/2 season.

In the 2023/4 season, our Men’s 1st XV will be playing in National League 2 West against clubs such as Clifton and Dings Crusaders. With four senior teams, including our burgeoning Women’s section, our thriving Minis & Junior Section and an active Community Team, we continue to go from strength to strength.

I would like to thank all of our existing and new advertisers and sponsors of the Club. Your support is vital and greatly appreciated. Let’s all enjoy the games to come and here’s to another hundred years of straight, running rugby!

Stephen George Foley

Honorary Life President