Here Come The Beasts
Under the guiding light of coach Joe Catcheside Basingstoke Beasts began training in late 1994. 1995 was the year Rugby League celebrated its centenary and many clubs were set up in the south, including the Beasts' first opponents St. Albans. The match ended in a 14-4 win for the Beasts and gathered some publicity in the local press and television, the match being featured on BBC South Today and in the Basingstoke Gazette.
Training sessions were held weekly, initially at Brighton Hill School and later at the Vyne School.
The club's competitive life began in September 1995 in London League Division Two (South West) but before that the club arranged a number of friendly matches with other clubs in the area and organised and ran a successful South of England Rugby League Sevens competition at Down Grange in August 1995. Initially intended to be a celebration of the centenary of the founding of Rugby League, the competition was also run in 1996 and 1997 as a warm up for the London Amateur Rugby League season.
Basingstoke Beasts first competitive season in saw the team lose only once in the league and clinch a league and cup double by taking the London Amateur Rugby League Association Bowl with a 26-14 win over Brent-Ealing II. They also caused a stir by arriving in style to the event in a luxury coach.
Development work had also begun with support from the London Broncos, now Harlequins RL. A coaching course was run for members of the club and a number of schools were visited by members of the London Broncos development staff, including John Hunt of Everest, Brighton Hill Community and the Clere School.
The club looked to the 1996/97 with some optimism as they had gained some impressive results against these teams in the past. However despite a promising start when three wins were secured out of the first four fixtures the Beasts ended the season in some disarray as players in the armed services became unavailable and as with many new clubs the committee was not strong enough to carry the club through its problems. Unfortunately these problems meant the club did not consider joining the proposed Rugby League Conference which now celebrates its twelfth anniversary and has three Hampshire clubs in its competition, namely Farnborough Falcons, Southampton Spitfires and Portsmouth Navy Sea Hawks.