Wed 09 Jun 2021 19:36

The club was formed in 1953 as a result of a challenge, made whilst fortified by alcohol, that a team could be raised to beat Exeter FC “B” team. The challenge which was made by Derek Headon, who became the club’s first chairman, failed but a return match was arranged and justice was seen to be done.

The Saracens now existed as a club and more fixtures were arranged, all away from Exeter as no home ground was available, against such opponents as Crediton Reserves, North Tawton and Withycombe Reserves. Players were often hauled out of pubs on a Saturday lunchtime to play in order to field a full XV.


The following season fixtures were made and a home pitch, known as “The Hill'', at King George V playing fields in Countess Wear was obtained. The Saracens first headquarters was The Axminster Hotel in Newtown, but this was unfortunately closed in 1955. From there the club moved to The Globe Inn in Clifton Road and then on to The Balck Horse in Longbrook Street, which remained it’s H.Q. for several years until premises were leased from The White Hart in South Street. During this period the club obtained two pitches at the County Show Ground in Whipton for playing their home matches.


The fixture list began to strengthen around this period and the club’s playing membership was increased through the unfortunate disbandment of the Technical College Old Boys club. The newcomers included the Rice brothers, Ted and Rex, both were to play, particularly Ted, a big part over the coming years. The addition of the College OB players and others led to a 2nd XV being formed and later a Colts XV, which became the 3rd XV.


In 1956 Saracens lost to Buckfastleigh in the Devon Junior Cup final and over the next few years were finalists in a couple of 7’s tournaments as well as a few notable scalps whilst playing in the Devon Cup. During the 1960’s several players made their mark at higher levels, including Martin Underwood, who played for Exeter, Northampton and England, Neil Diment (Exeter & Devon), Dennis Lovell (Devon) and John Riley (Berkshire).


The clubhouse lease was eventually terminated and a sharing agreement was made with Exeter Cricket Club, whilst still playing at the Show Ground. At the end of the 1979/80 season Old Heleans also unfortunately folded through insufficient numbers so their captain Simon Angus and many of his players joined Sarries along with a couple of friends from Exeter FC.

This further strengthened the club's player base and improved the quality of all of the 3 teams that were playing at the time. With only two teams in Exeter and it’s locality at that time, new players to the area, either went to Exeter FC or Sarries, so competition only got stronger.  


The 1980’’s saw Sarries stock rise!