Blackthorn Men

The Blackthorn Rugby Football Club (Elkins Park, PA) was founded in 1971 by Marshall Sturm, John Galante, and Bob Kirkpatrick. Sturm had been a member of the Penn State Rugby Club and then played for Whitemarsh R.F.C. After playing several seasons for Whitemarsh, Sturm decided to form a club.

Sturm enlisted the support of fellow Whitemarsh players Bob Kirkpatrick and Dave Labovitz, as well as Philadelphia R.F.C. scrum-half John Galante. It was decided not to name the club after a particular geographical area and thereby restrict recruitment or movement from field to field. Kirkpatrick, who played for a year in Ireland with the Galway Corinthians, suggested the name Blackthorn as a way to avoid geographical identification and to make an association with one to the "Home Countries" of rugby.

The club of those first five years was known as a hard playing and hard partying group. Such stalwarts as Rick "Mad Dog" Mossiette, Don Morsdan, Hans Sumpf, Dan Currie, Peter Brindle, Dave Lieber, Pat Luddy and Will Pike played major roles in making the club the kind of organization which many players and their families would want to remain associated with for a long time to come. Surviving a membership split, which spawned the Doylestown R.F.C., the club was bolstered by a number of recruits including Kevin and Donald Rae, Stu McClay, Bill McMinn, Ed Hincken and Marc McKenna. These players helped the club rise to the top of Eastern Pennsylvania Rugby Union's second and then first division. Blackthorn capped its championship run by becoming Eastern Rugby Union Champions in 1984 and went on to place 4th in the country that year.

Since then, the club has gone through another generation of players and has produced a string of tournament and league success. The team has won the Reading April Fools Tournament in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Blackthorn won the Mid Atlantic's Division II in the fall of 1996. This successful season allowed Blackthorn to qualify for the National Playoff Tournament in Dallas, Texas, where they faced the top teams in the nation.

The Blackthorn Rugby Football Club indeed has a storied and successful past, a vibrant present, and exciting future.

EPRU Division:
Membership Status: Full, Good Standing
Year Founded: 1971
Mailing Address
United States

Team Contacts

Administrator Position E-mail Cell Phone
Patrick Dufner President 215-519-9278
Kevin McIlhinney Match Secretary 215-370-6587
Keith Reynolds Head Coach 484-612-2579