The Old Alleynian Football Club (commonly known as Alleynian Rugby) is an open rugby union club founded as a team for the old boys of Dulwich College, themselves known as Old Alleynians. It is one of the oldest clubs in London and was the last of London's old boys clubs to become a fully open club. It is notable not only for its longeivity, but also for the prominence it once attained on the club circuit and for the number of eminent players that have been members of the club, some of whom gained their international caps whilst at the club.
Dulwich College had been playing football using Rugby School rules since 1858 and the school had been playing against scratch sides of old boys since the 1890s. In October 1897 a former pupil of Dulwich College wrote to the school magazine (The Alleynian) bemoaning the fact that despite the school having an old boy representative "in almost all the first-class football clubs" the fact that it did not have an old schoolboy team, "such as Old Merchant Taylors, Old Leysians, Old Carthusians, Marlborough Nomads", meant that it was missing out on "the greater athletic reputation [it] would otherwise have obtained." Within a few months R.M. Everett, a member of the school's first XV, and William Leake, an Assistant Master at the school and former Cambridge rugger Blue, had joined forces to promote the formation of the club. In June 1898 Leake published an invitation in "The Alleynian" to "all OAs desirous of joining". In September 1898, the club played its first match, drawing with Croydon 3rds (Croydon FC being the name by which Old Whitgitians were known at the time). On October 8, 1898, the club's first general meeting was held, rules approved, officers elected and the dark blue, light blue and black hooped jerseys were decided upon.
The club was regarded as one of the best in London by 1913 and in that year five of its players, who had all played together in the school's 1st XV, were selected to play in the Varsity Match. The five were J. E. Greenwood, Cyril Lowe, Eric Loudoun-Shand, Graham Donald and W. D. Doherty. They were known at the school as the "famous five", having played in an unbeaten school side, all going on to play in the Varsity Match and all going on to represent their countries, two as captain.
In World War I the club lost 76 members but Leake, "Slacker" Christison and Major Everett revived the club by 1919 and the club (and therefore the school to which it was affiliated) produced the captains of both Oxford and Cambridge in the Varsity Match. This was the first and only team this had happened. The 1920s saw the clubs strength grow and it produced its first international cap (to be won by a player playing for the club) in 1927 in the person of Kendrick Stark. In 1931 Eric Whiteley repeated the distinction. The club had over 600 members and was beating clubs like Rosslyn Park.
The Second World War took a heavy toll on the members, with 49 losing their lives. So weakened was the club that it merged with its oldest of rivals, Old Whitgiftians, for a year in 1945. A modest resurgence took place at the turn of the decade, with Ian Coutts gaining his Scottish caps, and the likes of London Irish, London Welsh and Wasps falling to the OAs. However, by the late 1960s the OAs played strong local opposition rather than "1st class" clubs. In the 1980s the club continued to be strong, arguably the strongest of all Old Boys clubs in London, with the topping of the Combined London Old Boys Merit Table in 1988 as testament to this. In 1987 the league system introduction led to the club being placed in the Courage League London South 2. In 1989 the club were promoted to London One, won the Surrey Rugby Union Cup, topped the Combined London Old Boys Merit Table once again and qualified for the Middlesex Sevens Finals.
A second Surrey Cup win in 1992 was unfortunately followed by a three slide seeing the club drop three divisions and in 1995 the Old Alleynians became the last of the Old Boys clubs to become fully open membership. The most recent success came in 2003, when the Old Alleynians beat Shipston upon Stour 16 -10 in the final of the Powergen Junior Vase, held at Twickenham.
Alleynian Youth Rugby
The Youth Section of the Club was set up in 2000, in response to a growing demand for rugby facilities for younger players. Our rugby is carried out in accordance with the RFU Rugby Continuum — a planned progression of skills related to young peoples’ growth over time. We have strong links with Dulwich College, local schools, the Kent RFU, Surrey RFU. the RFUW and also other local clubs. At the Mini (U6-8) and Midi (U9-12) age groups we mostly play teams in Kent but also have frequent matches and festivals with nearby Surrey teams and have taken part in Festivals in Middlesex, Sussex Hertfordshire, Devon, and Wales. Our Junior sides from U13 — U18 primarily play in Surrey leagues, but also maintain our links with Kent clubs for friendly fixtures. In 2008, we started an Under 21 squad.
We also recently started a girls section from U10 and upwards and provide coaching and matches for girls at U12 and U15.
Although we are linked to Dulwich College (the Old Alleynians are ex-pupils of Dulwich College), we are a fully open club and children from any school are welcome to play here. Currently there are more than 70 schools (both boys and girls) represented at the Club.
The fixture list is a good blend of training days, structured development days (training with other clubs), matches (with perhaps 2 or 3 other clubs) and festivals, with as many as 20 clubs taking part. We also encourage our squads to go "on tour" at the end of the season.
The club played on the Norwood clubs ground in Norwood Park between 1899 and 1901. A semi-nomadic existence then ensued as the club moved on a yearly basis from Elm Grive, Sydenham to Cavendish Road, Mrton to Horn Park Farm, Lee. Then in 1905 the Dulwich Estate allowed the club to settle at Dulwich Common where they play to this day. In 2003 a fire saw the club lose half of its clubhouse, which was rebuilt shortly afterwards.
Notable players and former players
Notable chiefly as rugby players
Players gaining international caps whilst playing for the OAs
Kendrick Stark (1904–1988)England international (first capped 1927)
Eric Cyprian Perry Whiteley, England international (first capped 1931)
Ian Coutts, Scotland international (first capped 1951)
Other internationals and first class players
Nick Easter* (born 1978), professional rugby union footballer for NEC Harlequins and England.
Mark Easter (born 1982) - rugby union footballer (position No. 8 or Flanker) who plays for Northampton Saints.
Andrew Sheridan (born 1979), rugby footballer for Sale Sharks and England: 90-98
Tom Mercey, rugby footballer, England Under 21s, club Saracens
David Flatman - prop for the England national rugby union team.
Halil Izzet, (born 1985), rugby footballer, Damascus Zenobians 1st XV, Syria
C.E Cat - Rugby Union International for Uruguay (first represented Uruguay in 1922)
C.H Scott - Rugby Union International for Argentina (first represented Argentina in 1922)
E.A. Cleugh - Rugby Union International for Uruguay (first represented Uruguay in 1922)
J.M Cat - Rugby Union International for Uruguay (first represented Uruguay in 1922)
L.P Bridal - Rugby Union International for Uruguay (first represented Uruguay in 1922)
David Trail (1875–1935), represented a forerunner of the British and Irish Lions, known as the Anglo-Welsh on their tour of Australasia in 1904.
Nick Lloyd, (born 1976) - rugby union player with Saracens; selected for Scotland in 2006 but had to withdraw due to injury.
Cyril Mowbray Wells - (1871–1963) - Played Rugby Union for England as well as being a first-class cricketer (represented Cambridge University, Surrey and Middlesex as a right-handed batsman and bowler.)
Group Captain Cyril Nelson "Kit" Lowe MC DFC RAF (1891–1983) - English rugby union footballer representing England in 25 consecutive matches, First World War flying ace, and supposedly the inspiration for W. E. Johns' character "Biggles".
Jock Hartley - Rugby union international for England (first represented England in 1902)
J.E. Greenwood - Rugby union international for England (first represented England in 1912) Later captained England.
E.G. Loudoun-Shand - Rugby union international for Scotland (first represented Scotland in 1913)
G.A.M. Isherwood - Rugby union international for Great Britain (first represented Great Britain in 1910)
C.T. Mold - Rugby union international for Argentina (first represented Argentina in 1911)
K.G. Drysdale - Rugby union international for Argentina (first represented Argentina in 1911)
W.H. Bridger - Rugby union international for Argentina (first represented Argentina in 1911)
A.L Wade - Rugby union international for Scotland (first represented Scotland in 1908)
Grahame Donald - Rugby union international for Scotland (first represented Scotland in 1914)
W.D Doherty - Rugby union international for Ireland (first represented Ireland in 1921) Later captained Ireland
Notable chiefly in other fields
Edward George, Baron George
 Dick Tyson, London's Oldest Rugby Clubs, p102 (JJG Publishing), 2008
 Dick Tyson, London's Oldest Rugby Clubs, p103 (JJG Publishing), 2008
 Old Alleynians Sporting Honours
 Dulwich College - Old Alleynians : Eminent Old Alleynians : Sport
 Dulwich College Sporting Honours
 Webster F.A.M., (1937), Our Great Public Schools, page 96, (Butler & Tanner: London)
 Exeter Chiefs