The Barbarians were the first to break away from the B.A.A. (Bermuda Athletic Association). This was in 1954 when a number of policemen and some of their friends decided to form their own team. The better Police players were already playing for the B.A.A. at this time, but they joined their brothe
rs in this new venture which strengthened them considerably, and therefore made them a viable entity. After four years the team officially became the Police Recreation Club’s Rugby Football Section, alias “THE POLICE”, or B.P.R.F.C., which it still is today.
The first game played by the B.P.R.F.C. was against H.M.S. Troubridge, on Wednesday 4th November 1959. The Police won handsomely 35-0,with Peter Stubbs (who would go on to be a Chairman of the Club) taking the place of Dave Lunn Sr., and ending up kicking the first conversion of the day. The first Captain of the B.P.R.F.C. was a Non-Police officer, Mr. Paul Rich, a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces left behind in Bermuda to tidy up the final details of over 180 years of Garrison duty. He was a most popular choice and his skills on the rugby field, where he played at standoff, were matched only by his ability to get the best out of his players.
In 1960, Dave Lunn Sr. persuaded the Club to adopt the “Police Blue” which is still worn to this day. Prior to that time, the Police Officers and the associate members of the Club had been wearing the black strip of the “Barbarians” Rugby Club, whose short history has never been officially recorded. They played out of the old Police Barracks on Victoria Street, where the City Hall car-park stands today, and used the former Army Garrison Field at Prospect , which has now made way for the National Stadium.
The Club also honours the memory of one of its most enthusiastic supporters and a former Police Commissioner, Mr. George Duckett O.B.E., who was assassinated whilst serving as the Head of the Force, along with the Governor of the Island in the 1972 riots. A memorial game has been played in his name every year since his tragic death. For past few years, this game has been played back up on the new Police Field, where an enormous amount of work goes into transforming this ground from Soccer/Cricket pitch into a Rugby pitch for this one-off event. The B.P.R.F.C. in the past have played at Prospect, where they used to play at the Old Army Garrison Field, which was given to them to share with the other sporting groups from the Police Recreation Club.
The B.P.R.F.C. in the last several years has changed dramatically, without an influx of players coming from within the Force. As the Government at the time put a stop to the practice of bringing in expatriate Police Officers, so the need to find players from other sources was ever more apparent. This proved to be a very demanding cause and still does to this day. But, as always, the B.P.R.F.C. seems to cope well with all matters thrown in its path. After the initial downside it now seems to be rectifying itself with Chefs, Accountants, Brokers and even Students making up a lot of the players these days. The 1997/98 season, for instance, saw for the first time a B.P.R.F.C. 1st XV take to the field without a single Police Officer on the team sheet. Despite this fact the club today continues to have a healthy Blue Vein running right through it.
In October of 2005 the idea was first floated of forming a ladies section in the B.P.R.F.C. in order to provide competition for the women’s squads that the Renegades and Mariners clubs were training. The ladies first started training with Ryan “Kermit” Sommerville as coach – lovingly nicknamed “The Couch” by the Ladies with Jennifer Baird appointed as the first Ladies Captain. Their first league game was a 2-1 win over the Renegades at the Malabar field in December 2005. The ladies touch league was thus established and after Christmas 2005, regular league games were played alongside the men’s fixtures. The 2005/06 season has been the only season so far that the Ladies fielded a serving police officer (Denise Downey) on the roster. She retired after a short but eventful career, but the ladies are hoping that more serving women police officers will join in the future!
The first ladies game at the Duckett Memorial was held in January 2006 and the ladies trophy for this contest was named after “Roseanda Young” – the Deputy Police Commissioner at the time and the first lady to hold such a high post in the Bermuda Police Service. The B.P.R.F.C Ladies team won this inaugural game. Over the last few seasons, the ladies league has seen a change from touch to flag rugby and back to touch again. The women’s game is growing rapidly in Bermuda. The B.P.R.F.C. Ladies have had 6 members selected to play with the Bermuda women’s contact squad in 2009.