History


1989

The club was founded in 1989 by John Simkin, the then secretary of the Midlands and South West Amateur Rugby League (MASWARLA) and currently Bulldogs president, Nigel Harrison, a Lancastrian graduate rugby league player, and Kevin Cockcroft, a school teacher originally from Wakefield. They were joined shortly after the inaugural meeting by Jim Eccles, a former Wigan RL player, who together with Harrison recruited and coached the newly formed team.

The club's first season was in 1989 - 90 in the old MASWARLA competition and was eventful to say the least. A runners up spot in the Heart of England Nines was followed by a programme of fixtures against local rivals such as Redditch Halcyon and West Midlands Police producing intensely competitive games. The season culminated in a nail-biting encounter against Redditch in the MASWARLA Cup Final in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Birmingham were edged out 12-8 with a try in the dying minutes.

1990

In the 1990 - 91 season the team was reinforced by a number of rugby union recruits and skippered by Andrew Bushell, a young Wiganer. The club won their first silverware with the MASWARLA Challenge Plate in a final played at Worcester RUFC. The 1991-92 season saw Birmingham just fail to retain the Challenge Plate against the West Midlands Police RLFC, despite retaining the core of the successful team from the previous season.

1993

In 1993 Jamie Walsh joined the club as club secretary. Jamie brought with him his experience as a professional player; he had played scrum-half for "Castleford' in the seventies, when the team won the BBC-2 Floodlit Trophy.

1994

1994 - 95 saw the arrival at the club of Tony Williams, probably Birmingham's most influential player since the clubs early days. Under his leadership, the side began to flourish, winning the Heart of England Nines trophy in 1995 and notching up a notable cup win over established Doncaster side Bentley-Yarborough in 1996.

1995

The 1995 - 96 season brought even more success as Birmingham captured the East Midlands League title, were runners up in the League's Cup final, won the Brennan Trophy in most dramatic fashion, had their first ever win in the National Cup and then hosted the Yorkshire Cup holders Queens, from Leeds.

1996

Outside of all this, rugby league itself was changing in the most startling fashion. From 1996, the code at professional level abandoned the traditional winter-centred season, switching to summer under the auspices of Rupert Murdoch's Sky-TV. The Rugby Football League was keen to promote this idea, and spread the code outside of its Old Heartland.

1997

The Rugby League Conference was launched in 1997 and was aimed at areas relatively new to the game. Birmingham played in the very first fixture in this new competition away at Leicester Phoenix and scored the first ever points, a drop-goal from Tony Williams, and the first ever try, from James Brabin. The game eventually finished 36 -23 to Leicester but Birmingham went on to the play-offs after finishing second in the Central Division, behind Leicester. The semi-final saw Birmingham play the winners of the Eastern division, North London Skolars in London. The semi-final was a thriller with Skolars taking an 18 point lead before Birmingham roared back and the game eventually finished with Skolars holding on to win 18 - 16.

2000

The 2000 Rugby league Conference season saw the club finish top of their division. They then went on to reach the quarter finals of the competition where they were defeated 29-27 points by Rotherham Giants.

2003

The 2003 season saw the club finish top of their division and after pay-off wins against Nottingham and Mansfield traveled to the semi-final against Carlisle Centurions. The Bulldogs eventually found their match in a Carlisle side and went down 44 - 2.

2004

Following the success of the previous season the club applied to join National league 3 in 2004 and were successful. The clubs first fixture in National League 3 was a repeat of the previous years Semi-final with an away trip to Carlisle Centurions. The Bulldogs set down a marker for the rest of the season and scored a 30 - 20 win. This set the tone for the rest of the season and the Bulldogs eventually finished eighth and progressed to the play-offs where they were just pipped in an epic contest against local rivals Coventry Bears. The season finished with Mike Jones being awarded the NL3 young player of the year and Adam Cawley being nominated as the NL3 player of the season.

2005

The 2005 season proved to be far more demanding at National level, with a considerable increase in the number of fixtures compared to the previous season.

Midway through, the club had to withdraw from the competition and revert to playing in the Midlands Regional division of the Rugby League Conference. The players ultimately pulled round well from this dislocation, a last gasp win over a strong Coventry Bears "A" side being notable.

2006

In 2006, the club re-established itself in the Rugby League Conference Premier competition. A tough campaign of matches - Coventry Bears 1st XIII were now back at this level, for example - saw defeats exceed victories, but the team resolutely applied themselves and ended the season on a "high" with a hard-fought success at Telford Raiders, which avenged an earlier reverse.

2007

Following significant pre-season work with the RFL, Russell Parker was appointed as a full-time Community Rugby League Coach for Birmingham. This significant stride forward for the sport in the city matched equivalent appointments in "non-traditional' areas throughout the Midlands (Coventry, Telford, Redditch & Nottingham) aimed to develop the sport at grass roots level in schools and throughout the community.

Following the work in local schools a junior section was soon established at the club, with teams at various age groups competing at numerous festivals throughout the Midlands during the season. There were also additional fixtures further afield, plus a successful trip to watch International Rugby League as Great Britain beat New Zealand in the Test series.

In addition to the junior development work, Russell also made a considerable impact on the field, together with fellow new recruit Adam Kyle from Australia. Adam brought his experience as a forward in the Canberra competition, switching to stand off for the Bulldogs and making a considerable contribution to the club both on & off the field. The club saw much improved performances during the season in a tough & highly competitive RLC Midlands Premier League at Open Age level, unfortunately missing out on the end of season play-offs.

2008

At Open Age level in the RLC Midlands Premier League the club had a tough season following the departure of several senior players, including prior year "Man of Steel' Adam Kyle, who proved extremely difficult to replace. However, following Russell Parker's appointment as Senior Head Coach the club's development continued with the formation of a second Open-Age team early in the season. They competed in the Midlands Merit League and a string of excellent results saw them successfully reach the semi-final play-offs where they narrowly lost to Sheffield Forgers.

The junior section continued to develop and improve throughout the season with increasing participation at all age groups during the Midlands festivals & other friendly fixtures during the season. The club also worked hard behind the scenes at its development work and successfully applied for the prestigious Clubmark status, awarded at a club trip to the England versus Wales fixture prior to the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

In another successful development in conjunction with the Heart of England NHS Trust, the club helped to establish a Touch Rugby competition within the community. This culminated in Aston Old Edwardians RU Club beating an all-star team on finals day, including ex-professional GB International players Barrie McDermott & Terry O'Connor.

2009

In a major close-season change, the club relocated from its Moor Lane home of many years to nearby Aston Old Edwardians RU. Other significant pre-season developments included the return of Adam Kyle to the club together with a fellow Australian Clinton Tull. The club continued with two Open Age teams competing in The Co-operative RLC Midlands Premier League (RLC) & the Kukri Midlands Rugby League (KMRL; formerly Midlands Merit League).

The RLC Midlands competition was one of the toughest & closest for years, with four teams ultimately competing for top spot in the final round of the season. In a "winner takes all clash' against local rivals Coventry, the Bulldogs lost narrowly to the RLC Midlands winners and thereby missed out on the play-offs.

In the KMRL competition, the Bulldogs second team showed great improvement as the season progressed & deservedly topped the league after the regular season. The club had its revenge against Coventry in the semi-final to set up a finals day against North Derbyshire Chargers. Following an early deficit they fought back splendidly to eventually win the game in style and bring the cup back to club for its first silverware since 1996.

At junior level the Bulldogs competed at Under 12, Under 14 & Under 16 level in the newly established Kukri Midlands Rugby League. The standard of competition was much improved, especially at Under 16 level where the Bulldogs team competed well in defeat against West Midlands champions Telford Raiders. Several players gained representative honours at both West Midlands and County level during the season, with Harry Baldock, Zak Richards, Gareth Jones & Fabien Edwards going on to play for the Midlands Under 18 team.

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