Rugby was first played in Tiverton in 1868 against Blundell’s School on the edge of the town. Using the school’s own rules there were 20 players in each team, no flags, a referee and two umpires and was known as the “carrying game”. In 1870 the “Rugby Rules” were adopted and for a few years the Tiverton team played not only against the school but also against teams from towns within commuting (horse and cart) distance such as Crediton, Exeter and Wellington.
It was in the 1880’s that rugby really gained a grip in the town. The club took Devon by storm and was regarded as one of the top clubs in the South West. It was during this period that the Devon RFU started the annual competition for a Cup and it remains a matter of pride that Tiverton will remain forever at the head of the list of teams to have won the Cup since it all started in 1888.
Fortunes found many highs and lows in the decades that followed. At one time rugby seems almost to have been forgotten in the town while at others there were as many as four town clubs competing against each other.
The Devon Cup again came to rest in the club’s trophy cabinet in 1998 following victory over Torquay on their own ground. There have been other honours too. Three times winners of the pre-league Devon Merit Table in the 1980’s, four times Devon Colts Cup.