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150th anniversary of Sunderland (Rugby) Football Club, Ashbrooke Sports Club 12.00 -2.00.

Tuesday 26 December 2023 sees the 150th anniversary of what was then known as Sunderland Football Club ( not to be confused with the later Sunderland Association Football Club). On Boxing Day 1873 a group of young men gathered at the cricket ground on Holmside - close to what is Yates' pub today. They wanted a game of football and seem to have chosen to play by the Rugby Rules/Laws rather than the Association (Soccer) ones. Two captains were chosen and they selected sides to represent 'Sunderland' and 'the pick ups'. The game was a close one with Sunderland victors as a result of a last minute try turned into an all important goal. If the kick at goal had been missed, by the rules/laws of the day the match would have ended as a goalless draw. Sunderland's captain was solicitor Charles Kidson and the pick ups' captain was a member of the Kayll family ( of Kayll Road). The winning goal was kicked by one of the famous Laing shipbuilding family. By January 1874 the new club had started to play other sides.

The intention is to celebrate the founding with a little bit of harmless fun this Boxing Day. Players of all ages bring boots ( and tags) and we will select two sides for a (very short) game of touch/tag. Then to the bar for a swift pint or two - the whole just lasting from 12.00 -2.00 and allowing other family arrangements to go ahead.

Please join us - and Happy Christmas. P.S. The photograph was probably taken in January 1874 as the two Laing boys ( age 17 and 18) had gone back to school and there are only 13 in the picture. Soon after they both played for the school against Richmond - one of the top clubs of the day. Read all about it in the 150 anniversary booklet.

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