Ed Taylor stands down

As many of you will already have read in the matchday programme from the last game of the season, Ed Taylor is standing down as Club Captain after being with us for the last few seasons, notching up 71 games. 

Ed admits that it was a very difficult decision to make, but his career commitments mean that he can no longer give the time needed for such an important role. Ed says “It has been an absolute honour to captain such a prestigious club and this group of players, and I am going to massively miss leading out the lads at The Utilita!”

Ed grew up in Shropshire and, encouraged by his father who played locally, began his rugby with Bridgnorth RFC. His first experience of captaincy came with Old Swinford Hospital School in Stourbridge (which included an appearance in the 2012 Daily Mail U18 Cup Final, losing narrowly 15-8 to Dulwich College), and continued with England U18/19 and Worcester Warriors U18.

While with the Premiership club’s academy, Ed had stints with Luctonians and Rotherham before moving to Loughborough University, making 76 National League appearances, and captaining the Students in his final year.

Joining Bedford Blues in 2016, Ed made over 80 appearances, while completing a Masters in Real Estate and Planning and starting a part-time career in Development. Then, in 2020, Ed decided on a change.

Interviewed at the time by Graham Cox, he said “The time had come to step away from full time professional rugby and focus on the career, while continuing to play at top level with a semi-professional club. Having moved close to the area and having it on my doorstep, the decision to join Blackheath was something of a no-brainer. It has an outstanding history and a reputation for looking after its players.”

Blackheath Rugby was thrilled to welcome Ed in 2020 but, due to the pandemic, he had to wait until 2021 to lead the team out as Captain, becoming only the fourth player to do so since 2005.

Markus Burcham, who handed over the mantle to Ed, says “Replacing a captain in any team is a real challenge and, when I returned to the club after a couple of years away due to Covid and relocating to Bournemouth, I didn’t know Ed at all. I soon realised what a great choice of captain the club had made. He’s very calm, doesn’t let his emotions get the better of him, and makes time for absolutely everyone on and off the pitch. I think his playing credentials can sometimes be overlooked because of all the other stuff that comes with being a captain but he’s so consistent in his performances, hardly ever injured and throws himself into everything week in week out.” 

Markus continues “We have spoken a lot about the end of this season and moving into next season: I’m not sure exactly what Ed will end up doing but he’s had a huge impact on the club over his few years and is someone that the players, supporters and club staff will all hold in the highest regard.”

Ed’s first season with the club was a difficult one, with so many players retiring or moving on post Covid, but he believed in the Club throughout and led the 2022-23 squad to become National 2 East champions, winning 23 out of 26 games, lifting the silverware, and completing ‘The Blackheath Renaissance’. Coming in to 2023/24, the pressure was on again, but the challenge was something Ed relished.

Tom Baldwin, who stepped in to Ed’s shoes and captained the side when he was injured this season, says “His leadership is authentic and built on what he values as a human being: it’s why he has been so influential in the changing room.” Tom goes on to sum Ed up “Good player, better bloke!”

James Shanahan, Director of Rugby, agrees. “Ed’s been a Club Captain in the true sense of the word — outstanding both on and off the field, buying in to the One Club ethos and helping to bring all the playing sections together, as well as the Club as a whole. He’s a great bloke, and has been a great captain — always positive, always encouraging both the team and individual players. He’s led the team brilliantly, and has really grown the bond between the Club XV and 1st XV.” 

Shanners goes on to say “I don’t think this will be the last we see of him in a Blackheath shirt — hopefully he’ll find time to fit in some games between his work commitments. He’s massively respected by all the players and will be missed.”

Russell Ticehurst, Managing Director, continues the theme “Ed has been a fabulously committed Captain and, like Markus before him, he has been a Captain both on and off the pitch for the 1st XV and the whole Club. We will miss his positive outlook on life and his philosophical approach when things are down, but most of all we will miss his spectacular fancy dress costumes. We all wish him well and look forward to seeing him back at The Utilita whenever he wants to. Good luck Ed and hope business goes from strength to strength!!”

Final words must go to Ed: “On top of the 1st XV and Club XV, it’s been amazing to see the club succeeding with the Women, Bandits, Minis and Juniors all having great seasons. I would like to personally thank every player, supporter, sponsor, member, coach and board member for making my time as Captain so special.

Blackheath Rugby would like to wish Ed the very best in his career, and thanks him for his service to the Club. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see him again!


For a few memories of Ed over the past few seasons, click here.


Photographs: Andy Wansbury, Debbie Lloyd, Pamela Kilmister