A RUGBY club will be celebrating its centenary at one of the biggest games in the Union calendar.
Huddersfield Rugby Union FC will be celebrating its 100th birthday at Twickenham tomorrow when England take on Wales in the Six Nations.
And among the guests of honour will be Huddersfield RUFC president Mark Birch, who will be joined by presidents from seven other clubs celebrating their centenary.
The game is especially important as it is the 100th year in which England battle Wales at Twickenham.
The Six Nations Championship, involves teams from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, France and Italy.
It originates from the Five Nations which has been played since 1910.
After lunch at the Spirit of Rugby Restaurant, the club presidents will watch the game in the members lounge.
At half-time the eight presidents will be presented with centenary plaques on the pitch by RFU president John Owen.
Mark was surprised and overjoyed to be invited to the event which is a milestone for his club and British rugby union.
He said: “I didn’t expect to be invited at all. It is fantastic.
“It’s hard enough getting a ticket without being wined and dined!
“It’s a surprise and it’s quite a nice touch. I’m really looking forward to going.”
Other teams invited to celebrate are Bancroft RFC, of Essex, Bournville RFC, of Birmingham, Oxford RFC, Old Emanuel RFC, of Surrey, Broad Plain RFC, of Bristol, Nottingham Trent University RFC and Nuneaton Old Edwardians RFC, of Coventry.
The Huddersfield club has been celebrating its 100th anniversary since this season began with luncheon reunions of players from the 1940s to the 1990s.
A luncheon for players from the 2000s to the present takes place on February 20.
A centenary annual dinner takes place on March 5 followed by a grand centenary ball at the end of the season on May 29.
Mark, an ex-captain of Huddersfield RUFC first team, said: “I’m absolutely honoured to be president of a 100-year-old club and head of the centenary committee.”
Huddersfield RUFC began as Huddersfield Cricket and Athletic Club in 1869.
In 1875 it became Huddersfield Rugby League Club, and under this name the union club converted to a rugby league after 1895.
Early that year the Northern Rugby Football Union (which later became the Northern Rugby League) was founded at the George Hotel, Huddersfield, by several senior northern clubs who had agreed to resign from the RFU.
The split between rugby union and what became known as rugby league followed two years of disputes with the RFU over compensating players for loss of earnings.
After Huddersfield Rugby League Club (now the Giants) had broken away from the Union, interest in rugby union had faded in the area.
But in 1909 a group of union enthusiasts, Walter Scott, C Edgar Brierley and Norman Taylor and Alderman Earnest Woodhead, formed Huddersfield Old Boys at the Pack Horse Hotel, which stood where the Pack Horse Shopping Centre now stands.
The club played in claret, gold and white as it does today.
The old ground of the United Cricket Club in Luck Lane was the first playing facility, with dressing rooms at the Croppers Arms.
For the second season of 1910-11, the club moved to a new ground in Thornhill Road.
In the final season before the outbreak of the Great War, the club’s accommodation moved to the White Horse ground on Leeds Road, with headquarters in the George Hotel.
Over 40 club members served in the Great War, eight of whom sadly failed to return. Any rugby played during the war years was linked to territorial matches, which served to sustain interest until hostilities ended. Walter Scott records that the club resumed in 1919, on a ground at Salendine Nook and later that year, at Waterloo.
In 1997 the club moved to its present ground at Lockwood Park.
Today, the First XV play in National II North.