Father H W F Burvill, who was the parish priest of St Phillips and St Marks churches in Port Elizabeth, in 1917 established St Marks Rugby Football Club. During 1929-1932, the club came into disfavour with the St Marks Congregation and a move was launched to take away the name St Marks from the club because the club members never attended services.
It was fortunate that the club Secretary was the church organist and he could intercede on behalf of the club. A compromise was reached in which the club undertook to attend church services at least once a month. This compromise was embodied into the constitution of the club. The once a month has degenerated into once a year!
In 1933 St Marks won the First Division League, Kibler Shield, Ohlson Trophy and the Eland trophy of the Eastern Province Rugby Union (Coloured).
The 1950 Rhodes Tournament was held in Port Elizabeth and it can be regarded as a unique record that two of its players, Pieter Jones (senior) and Pieter “Punchie” Jones (junior), played at fullback for Eastern Province teams (1931 and 1950) that won the coveted Rhodes Trophy.
A player who made impact not only for St Marks but also in SA rugby was Freddy Williams, commonly known as “Pappas”. He was a soccer convert but made a dynamic impact as a right wing.
“Pappas” played in 1951 to 1953 in trial matches of the South African Coloured Rugby Board but could not make the national team. He switched from wing to No 8 and was an instant success. In 1963, he captained Eastern Province to the Rhodes Tournament in Cape Town.
In the 1970s, Desmond Booysen had no peer as a right wing. He made his debut in 1970 when he represented Port Elizabeth and became a permanent player in the Eastern Province team in 1974. In 1980, he captained the Eastern Province side that drew 3-3 with Boland and initiated the purple patch era of 1980, 1981, 1983 and 1984 when Eastern Province won the SA Cup. In 1982, he received SA colours and he retired in 1987. He made a comeback in 1988 but confined his activities to club matches only. In 1989, he was recalled to the Eastern Province side.
The club is still active in the EP leagues.
Author: Gideon Nieman – Facebook Page: South African Rugby Clubs 1875 to 1992) – as published on the Springbok Experience Museum Facebook Page.
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Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/st-marks-rfc/94820/2017/10