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HISTORY OF HARLEQUINS

Recognised for its famous quartered shirt, the Harlequin Football Club ranks among the five oldest clubs in England and looks back at its history very fondly.

Harlequins was founded in 1866 as the Hampstead Football Club and renamed in 1870. Harlequins’ first recorded match was against Clapton and was played at Hackney Down on 16th November 1867.

The early years of HFC were demanding on all concerned as the new club gradually found its place in a new sport. More clubs were established in the London area and by 1886 Harlequins had a full fixture card that featured matches with Blackheath, London Scottish, Richmond, Oxford and Cambridge among others.

In the early years of the 20th century, the Club was home to three players who were to have a big impact on the development of the game: Ronnie Poulton-Palmer – the most outstanding three-quarters of his era, sadly killed in the First World War; Adrian Stoop – credited with the development of half-back and midfield play, and William Wavell Wakefield – an outstanding forward who had a profound influence on the tactical development of the game.

Trophy wins

Harlequins won the RFU Clubs’ knock-out competition on two occasions – the John Player Cup in 1988 and the Pilkington Cup in 1991.

Success in Europe has come with the professional era. The Club became the first British team to win the European Shield – now known as the Challenge Cup, in 2001 with the defeat of Narbonne.  Further success came in 2004 against Montferrand and in 2011 against Stade Francais.

Harlequins topped the RFU National Division One in 2006 and also won the Powergen National Trophy in the same year. The Club first became Premiership champions by defeating Leicester Tigers at Twickenham Stadium on 26th May 2012.

In 2020/21 the club enjoyed an unprecedented season with the men winning the Premiership and the women claiming the Allianz Premier 15s.

The Club has also won the country’s premier sevens tournament – the Middlesex Sevens, on 13 occasions.

The Club also won the LV= Cup and the Aviva ‘A’ League in the 2012 /13 season. The Academy’s players won the Premiership U18 League in February 2017.

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