Based at Twickenham Stoop in Hampstead, the Harlequins (nicknamed the ‘Quins’ to fans) are a premiership rugby union team who made their mark in 2001 when they became the first British rugby union team to win the European Shield.
Founded in 1866, the Harlequins were formed as Hampstead Football Club and played their first game as an official rugby union club the following year. In 1870 Hampstead changed their name to the Harlequin Football Club when the club started taking in members from further afield than Hampstead (club legends hold that the name change took place under a lamppost at the dead of night!) The club had to continue to use the initials HFC to match their newly developed monogram so various ‘H’ words were tried in place of Hampstead before Harlequin was deemed satisfactory. After the name change there was a split in the membership of the club with half of the members staying with the Harlequins and half going on to form the team that is now known as the Wasps.
During the Harlequins’ inaugural years the club did not have a satisfactory stadium to play in and until 1909 they had fifteen different homes. In 1906 the Quins were invited to use the Twickenham stadium, the official headquarters of Rugby Union and three years later, the club had made Twickenham their permanent home. In 1963 the Harlequins bought a 14 acre expanse of land which they developed into a training ground and stadium and since then the ‘Stoop Memorial Ground’ (or ‘Twickenham Stoop’ as it has been known since 2005) has been the club’s official base for training and matches.
In 1987 leagues were introduced to rugby union and the Harlequins were placed in the Premier Division. After winning the club knockout cups in 1988 and 1991 and reaching the finals on three further occasions, the team proved themselves on an international level, when they won the European Shield in 2001, beating Narbonne 42 to 33 in a close and exciting final. The following year, the Harlequins lost the title but in 2004 they wowed fans by becoming the first British team to win the European title (renamed the Parker Pen Cup) twice, defeating Montferrand 27 to 26.
Despite their successes in Europe during 2004, the team did not perform well within the British league and, after finishing last in the Zurich Premiership at the end of the 2004-05 season, the team were relegated to National Division One for the first time in the club’s history. The same year of their relegation the Harlequins went into partnership with the London Broncos, a rugby league team, who moved into the Stoop and renamed themselves Harlequins Rugby League.
After their disappointing fall to Division One, the Harlequins dominated the league, losing just one of their 26 games to the Exeter Chiefs, partway through the season. After gaining a match average of 40 points, the Harlequins defeated Sedgeley Park 65 to 8 to win the National Division One title, securing them a place in the Guinness Premiership for the 2006-07 season and seeing the team back, as their fans would argue, where they belong. The team maintained their place in the premiership at the end of the 2007 season and are currently placed mid-position on the 2007-08 premiership table.
Since the introduction of rugby union leagues in 1987, the Harlequins have won a series of significant honours:
- John Player Cup: 1988
- Pilkington Cup: 1991
- European Shield: 2001
- Parker Pen Cup: 2004
- U 19 National Trophy: 2005
- National Division One: 2006
- Powergen National Trophy: 2006
Tickets can be purchased through the ticket office on 020 8410 6000 or online at the Harlequins’ official website at the following prices:
(Disabled supporters: £17, Carers, £0. Front row seats will be allocated)
For information about forthcoming matches or for general enquiries see the Harlequins official website or contact the Stoop at:
Address: Twickenham Stoop Stadium, Langhorn Drive, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW2 73X
Tel: 020 8410 6000
Fax: 020 8410 6001
Directions to the Twickenham Stoop Rugby Union ground are as follows:
By Car (from the M3): Follow the M3 until the Sunbury roundabout. Continue straight on along the A316 Chertsey Road, over three roundabouts. After approximately 2 miles the Twickenham Rugby Stadium is situated on the left hand side and the Stoop is on the right. At the next roundabout take the third exit and turn left on to Langhorn drive.
By Car (from the M4): Leave the M4 at Junction 3 and take the third exit at the roundabout on to the A312 signposted A3006 Feltham. Continue straight along the A312 for approximately four miles. At the A305/A316 roundabout, turn left onto the A316 Chertsey Road and follow the road over three roundabouts. After approximately 2 miles the Twickenham Rugby Stadium is situated on the left hand side and the Stoop is on the right. At the next roundabout take the third exit and turn left on to Langhorn drive.
By Bus: Bus number 267 runs from Hammersmith to Fulwell Garage, calling at Stamford Brook, Turnham Green, Kew Bridge, Brentford, Isleworth and Twickenham, stopping a short distance from the Stoop.
Bus number 281 runs from Hounslow to Tolworth, calling at Whitton, Twickenham, Fulwell, Teddington, Hampton Wick, Kingston and Surbiton, stopping a short distance from the Stoop.
By Train: Twickenham train station is served by trains from Waterloo, Reading and Clapham Junction. From the station, turn right following signs for Twickenham Rugby Stadium and left at the mini-roundabout. Take the first left into Court Way and left again into Craneford Way. Continue straight and the Stoop is situated at the end of the road on the right hand side.