The club is the third oldest in the County and for many years was regarded as the counties best. The club now lags behind Penzance & Newlyn rugby club and Launceston although they have themselves enjoyed a good season (2003/2004). The club origins can be traced back to 1875 when like many clubs in Cornwall Henry Grylls and W.H.Willimot returned from college ‘up country’ and brought the game of rugby back to Redruth. The philosophy behind rugby seemed to reach deep into the soul of the local miners and by 1888 the club were seen as the premier side in Cornwall. The club has changed greatly from it’s humble beginnings and in comparison to the £5 it cost to run the club for its first season, it now costs £1000’s to keep the club going every season.
The club has always had a good relationship with local breweries and this can be traced back to the start. Redruth Brewery Co allowed the club to use its pitch below ‘Brewery Leats’ in Redruth for practice and matches. There was something strange about this pitch though; in the middle was a granite post which was avoided by players at all costs. The game at this time consisted of 20 players on each side with 16 of them present in the scrum and 4 in the back division. As there were no referees, any decisions that needed making were resolved by the two captains and sometimes even the nearby supporters were consulted.
A major change for the club happened in 1892 when a famous Swansea three quarter moved to Redruth to start a teaching job and introduced a running game to the club. As the club entered the new century it attracted some big names from local clubs. The half back pairing of A Thomas and J Davey joined the club and were soon picked to play for Cornwall. Like so many other Cornish rugby players they were forced to emigrate to South Africa when the local mines closed down. Davey captained the Transvaal side in the Currie Cup and narrowly missed out being selected by the Springbok when they toured England. When Davey returned to Cornwall in 1907 and rejoined Redruth he played alongside the legend Bert Solomon and together with John Jackett and T Lawry made up Redruth’s contribution to Cornwall’s County Championship winning side in 1907.
Like many clubs up and down the country both of the World Wars had a major affect on its player and many of the great names failed to return. In 1947 Keith Scott whilst playing for the club captained the England side. The club has had other players take part in England trials and even represent there country. These players include; Richard Sharp, Paddy McGovan, Ken Abrahams and Bonzo Johns.
Redruth’s ground has played host to some massive games over the years, one of the biggest was in 1968 when the County final took place with Cornwall losing to Lancashire. Over 22,000 supporters packed into the ground, sat on nearby roofs and even climbed trees to watch the spectacle. The ground which can at present hold 11,000 supporters boasts one of the best atmospheres in Cornish rugby and is home to the famous ‘Hellfire Corner’.
The club entered the rearranged national leagues in the mid 1980’s which meant that teams that had stopped coming to Cornwall once again ventured west.
With the introduction of several Kiwi’s and good local talent, the team has once again captured some of its past success and hopefully can progress over the next few years.