The All Golds are the first professional club to be owned by a university, but that is not the only unique fact about the Gloucestershire outfit.
Media manager Niall Mann recently told Love Rugby League everything there is to know about the pioneering club.
“With playing and training facilities in both Cheltenham and Gloucester the All Golds currently find themselves in a very strong position and there is a lot more tradition than people think,” said Mann.
“The Cheltenham site is actually considered the birthplace of international rugby league. It earnt this unique place in the history books as a result of hosting the sport’s first ever deciding international fixture.
“This fixture took place in Cheltenham on February 15th 1908 as the New Zealand All Golds defeated England (the Northern Union) 8-5. There is now a plaque on the site of the old ground commemorating the great deeds from what has become known as ‘The Great Match of the Edwardian Period’.”
“The club is known as the All Golds in order to honour the celebrated visitors of 1908 and it is also the reason behind the club logo being a golden fern.
“As far as the university is concerned they have had a rugby league team for a number of years, but the sport really took off when Lionel Hurst provided funding in 2011 which enabled a fine group of players to be recruited on scholarships.
“The added inspired leadership of Director of Sport Dr. Andrew Pitchford, coupled with the recruiting of administrator Rob Webber, ensured that by the end of the 2013 BUCS (British Universities and Colleges Sport) season the club had become British champions, defeating institutions such as Leeds Met and Loughborough along the way.
“The success of the BUCS team was the catalyst for the club to seek professional status, and all the planning and hard work is now starting to pay dividends. This is amply illustrated by the Championship 1 team defeating near neighbours Oxford recently.
“The organisation is seeking to build on solid foundations and has successful sides at under 16s and under 20s with a Centre of Excellence based at St Peter’s Catholic High School in Gloucester.
“The aim is to build a strong rugby league edifice throughout the region and there is already great interest at both primary and secondary school levels. The first community programme is planned for the autumn and will be sponsored by EDF Energy.”
Kingstone Press Cider has teamed up with LoveRugbyLeague to celebrate all things great about the rugby league Championships. For the rest of the season, ‘Championing the Championships’ campaign will put a weekly spotlight on each Championship and Championship 1 club to focus on their most memorable moments, look back at the clubs heroes and reward the loyal fans. Read more.