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Club History

The coal industry came to Kent in 1912 and Betteshanger Colliery started production in 1927 and was the last pit in Kent, closing in 1989. Rugby was first played at Betteshanger (The Colliers) in 1936, and was disbanded in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. The club reformed in season 1948-49 when the Yorkshire and Lancashire rugby league enthusiasts combined with the Welsh exiles. The Colliers were highly respected throughout their 57-year history winning county 7’s championship twice, as well as Kent 2, Kent 1 and London Div.4 SE.

Deal Wanderers started life as Walmer Wanderers in season 1958-59. The change of name came in season 1960-61 when it separated from the cricket section. The rugby club had a strong association with the Royal Marines School of Music, then barracked in Walmer, and the tragic IRA bombing in 1989 killed 11 students, several of whom played for the Wanderers. The community of Deal & Walmer was distraught and in commemoration of that day, an annual rugby match takes place, alternately hosted by the Lions at The Drill Field and by the Royal Marines Band Service in Portsmouth. Wanderers Winning Kent Div.3 in season 2004-05 was a fitting prelude to the amalgamation

Following closure of Betteshanger Colliery and the RM barracks both clubs found themselves competing for an ever-decreasing pool of players and in 2004 the two clubs engaged in discussion about amalgamation. Although they had very different backgrounds and histories the joining of the clubs was the right decision and in 2006 Deal and Betteshanger Lions RFC was born, and has proved very successful.

The Club is extremely proud that it is one of the very few sides at Level 7 that play predominantly home grown talent blended with a few players that have moved into the area. The club endeavours to field three regular senior sides. The club also has a thriving mini’s and junior section where we coach all children from 6 to 17years. The coaches work hard to ensure the clubs ethos of teamwork, respect, enjoyment and discipline, are values to be aspired to at all times. Such is our commitment to promote the RFU values, Deal and Betteshanger was one of the first Rugby Clubs in East Kent to be awarded the coveted “Seal of Approval”.

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