RUGBY UNION: Chinnor book is start of a living history

The Oxford Times: Chinnor’s 1963 captain Keith Croxford (left) meets his 2013 counterpart Liam Gilbert Chinnor’s 1963 captain Keith Croxford (left) meets his 2013 counterpart Liam Gilbert

BOB Mitchell hopes his history of Chinnor provides an opening chapter rather than a final page.

The club stalwart, former player and committee member compiled a book to mark Chinnor’s 50th anniversary this year.

And as his work goes on sale, Mitchell hopes it will prove a springboard for others to fill in some of the blanks.

“I decided to call it a living history because now we have created it, we can build on it over the years,” he said. “I started it well over a year ago.

“We have not been very good at keeping records as a club.

“But what we do have is a number of people who have been at the club throughout its life, so that has helped me piece together the history.

“The first three captains are still involved.”

Chinnor were founded in the village’s Bird in Hand pub on March 15, 1963.

The club’s first full season began on September 14, 1963 and they hosted Dings Crusaders in National 2 South on the same date 50 years later.

In between, Chinnor played at four different homes before moving to their Kingsey Road, Thame ground in 1988.

They announced themselves as a force in county rugby by winning the Oxfordshire Cup in 1977, but it is the last decade where they have enjoyed greatest success.

Chinnor have won the county cup for the last four seasons and are enjoying a second season in National 2 South, with only Henley Hawks of Oxon’s indigenous clubs ranked higher.

Asked about his highlight in compiling the book, Mitchell said: “Just meeting a lot of people who were involved in the club in the early days.

“Some I have met personally and others through the powers of the internet.

“Putting it together has been fun, although it was knackering.

“I just felt that in 50 years’ time, there wouldn’t be these people around and their memories would be lost.

“It was something that needed to be done.

“I have now got a box full of memorabilia at home.”

Their anniversary year has been marked by a number of celebratory events and voting for the club’s all-time best XV.

Chinnor have produced some outstanding players over the years, perhaps most notably Tom Johnson, Dave Seymour and Paul Volley in recent times.

Who was the best? Mitchell would not be drawn.

“It is hard to know,” he said. “I wouldn’t get involved.”

The book can be ordered via chinnor-rfc.com

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