History of the Club
The history of this wonderful club dates back to 1946 as shown by the Gloucestershire RFU (GRFU) handbooks. It was set up by doctors post-war to play rugby representing the local Bristol Hospitals.
The club was originally based in Brislington, at 'Brislington House' which was a training Nurse's home bought by the Royal United Hospital in Bath in 1951. The home was subsequently sold off and turned into a care home in the 1980s and now is private flats, known as 'Long Fox Manor'. The grounds were sold off to St. Brendan's School and the club moved to the Downs in the 1980s.
In the 1970s, the club began to accept Medical, Dentistry and Veterinary students into the fold and thus began the club as it is now known.
Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s the club was feared amongst the combination, as many of the amateur doctors also played for Bristol RFC. A great rivalry was formed between the United Bristol Hospitals RFC and the University of Bristol RFC, with many a great match being played. The club trained early morning on the Downs before the University Sports Complex was built at Coombe Dingle.
Hymn Book of the Late Tony John, 1st XV Captain from 1972-1973
In the late 1990s, according to the Black Bag (the medical student magazine) the club moved to the University Complex a Coombe Dingle. The National Association of Medical Schools (NAMS) cup started in 1994 and the UBH have been a member since its founding, with rivalries against Southampton, Cardiff, Leicester and Oxford dating as far back as this.
For about 10 years from 1995-2005 the club took part in the University's intramural league, being champions in almost every season. However in 2007, the club decided to join the local Bristol and Gloucester Merit leagues in order to further the amount of rugby played as well as become more integrated into the rugby playing community in the South West.
NAMS Plate Winners 2011-2012
NAMS success continued, with the club winning the plate competition in the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 seasons. Further to this, the club recorded one of its rare club doubles against Southampton University Hospitals RFC and Cardiff Medicals RFC in 2013.
After many successful seasons in the Merit league (2010 being a particular achievement, remaining undefeated), in 2017 the club decided to join the RFU accredited leagues, becoming the newest members of the Gloucester 3 league, with the intention of gaining promotion and breaking into the Gloucester rugby scene. The club also continues to be a part of the South-West NAMS cup division, with the intention of winning the cup for the first time in Club History on the horizon.
Winning UBH Team vs The Moose in 2012
Further, in order to expand membership and go back to its original roots, the club began to accept Veterinary and Dentistry students in the 2017-2018 season, as well as begin to re-accept doctors into the club after a 25 year hiatus. For the first time, a regular second team completed 8 matches across the season, allowing many more players into the club and tripling club membership to 60 members.
The club had an unbelievably successful 2017-2018 season, winning Gloucester 3 and losing only one match in the process, winning the NAMS Plate for the first time since 2012 and winning back the inaugural Ottie Uden Memorial Cup from Nantes on the 30th anniversary - named after Ottie, a friend to many in the club, who sadly passed away in 2017.
NAMS Plate Winners 2017-2018
The Gloucester 2 South league was formed from only Bristol based clubs, which means much less travelling than the previous leagues. However that has meant a significant increase in size and standard from the year before, handing the UBH several defeats. The subsequent year, we found our footing in the league and were promoted to Gloucester 1 south.
The 2020+1- 2022 season, despite the best efforts of the pandemic, was remarkably successful. Promotion to Gloucester 1 South before Covid-19 meant we were up against some unknown opposition. The start of the season looked promising and we gained momentum with a string of wins in the league. We then set our sights on the NAMS group stages. A draw away against a tough Peninsula team was a decent start to the campaign, although to the neutral we looked the better side. This left us with confidence for Varsity against Cardiff medics, Friday night lights at fortress Dingle. A momentous day for the club and Galenicals as we held on to a hard-fought victory, a first time for all those still playing at the club! A subsequent defeat to Southampton and Covid postponing a visit from Swansea meant we were entered into the plate. In the semi-final, rather fittingly, we welcomed Swansea to Bristol and stopped the Welsh forces from any further advance in the competition. We had made it to our first final since the 2017/18 season. The final was to be decided against Leicester medics and although a good opposition, UBHRFC were crowned NAMS plate champions 2020+1/2022.
We look to further our campaign this coming season by challenging in the NAMS cup as well as holding our own in the re-shuffled Counties 3 Tribute Gloucestershire South. The importance of recruitment is vital to our efforts and we welcome players of all abilities to join this great club so we can continue this journey. Onwards and upwards!