Hornets RFC come together to celebrate 60th anniversary

Hornets president Neil Cowlin attended the first meeting at the London Hotel in May 1962.

Hornets president Neil Cowlin attended the first meeting at the London Hotel in May 1962. - Credit: Josh Thomas

It was a year which saw the death of Marilyn Monroe, the Cuban Missile Crisis took the world to brink of war and the formation of Hornets RFC.

The Nest-based side celebrate their 60th anniversary as a club today - as it was on May 15, 1962 at the London Hotel on Weston's High Street, that over 30 people gathered for the first-ever meeting.

With Weston and Clevedon the only two clubs in the area at that time, a new side was tipped to emerge.

Current president Neil Cowlin was one of those present and said it’s great to come together to celebrate the milestone.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” he said.

“Especially for people like me, my age group that started the club 60 years ago. There is still a few of us about locally. 

“It’s massive thing for me personally, it’s a massive thing for the club obviously, for our wonderful club, which we have got at the moment. 

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“We are now supporting minis and juniors from the ages of six up to 18 with the Colts, three senior sides and four ladies and girls teams as well.

"Coming from nothing 60 years ago to what we are now we like to think we are the most successful club in the county at the moment, apart from Taunton, who are obviously a semi-professional outfit anyway.

"It’s massive, a wonderful achievement, brought about by hard work by various people, including past chairman and president Peter Costello, who had a lo to do with it in the early days and it’s been tremendous. It’s a wonderful achievement.”

The portrait of former Hornets captain, chairman and club president Peter Costeloe.

The portrait of former Hornets captain, chairman and club president Peter Costeloe. - Credit: Hornets RFC

As for how the club got its name, Cowlin explained: "There was a buzz in the town about starting another rugby club.

"What is a Buzz? Buzz is a bee, buzz is a wasp, buzz is a hornet. Our club colours were back and amber, hoops. Bees Rugby Football Club didn’t sound right, we couldn’t have Wasps because they was already a well-established club in London called Wasps. Hornet? Yeah, that sounds okay, Hornets Rugby Club.

"What is a Hornet? Well a Hornet is apparently a social insect, it has a very social aspect about it and it has a sting in its tail, that’s how the Hornets Rugby Club was named."

Newly appointed Director of Rugby Jon Richardson, who has been with Hornets since the age of nine in 1985, aside from a few years with Weston between 2004-7, said the milestone is something to cherish and there is plenty more to come from the Nest-based side.

He has held many roles during that time including player and head coach before being appointed in his current role on the back of Hornets’ best-ever season with a third-place finish in the South West Premier and victories in the Somerset Cup and Bristol Combination Cup.

“It’s a big thing for us and well worth the big celebration and it’s nice that it’s coincided with the most successful year for the club at senior level,” he said.

“It must be quite a thing to have seen the growth of the club from the start to where it is now, which some of our more senior members have been able to do.

“It’s always a pleasure to be involved with the Hornets and this era is no different. The club is growing at a steady pace and it’s great to see more and more players, supporters and sponsors recognise the opportunities available here. 

“The club is now 60 years old but it’s here to stay, to keep offering fantastic rugby and social experience to men, women and children of all ages and backgrounds. It’s a great club to be involved in.”

Hornets Director of Rugby Jon Richardson has been with the club since 1985.

Hornets Director of Rugby Jon Richardson has been with the club since 1985 aside from three years for Weston RFC between 2004 and 2007. - Credit: Josh Thomas

With the future expecting to be a bright one, Cowlin said there is plenty more to come from the Hornets and things are being done at the club to preserve their legacy.

“It’s another stepping stone, hopefully we can continue to be successful and to improve in certain areas,” he added.

“There are changes afoot down at the clubhouse. We are developing the clubhouse even more, putting in new facilities. 

“Over the summer we are extending our kitchen facilities for a start and then we hope to develop the roof area.

"There are always plans, as a club we don’t want to stand still, we want to keep promoting ourselves and keep improving.”

Members will no doubt have discussed the past and future at great length over their celebratory four-course dinner at the club on Friday night.