TWO rugby clubs which will be forever linked by history were reunited on the pitch to mark a special anniversary.

Braintree RFC’s away match against Kings Cross Steelers RFC on Saturday marked 20 years since the two sides first played each other.

The fixture played in January 1998 saw Kings Cross Steelers collect their first ever win, and has been credited as securing the long term future of the very first gay, inclusive rugby club in the world.

The latest match between the two sides once again saw the Steelers run out winners, meaning they claimed the iconic white stiletto which was used as a trophy in the very first fixture 20 years ago.

Steelers Chairman Matt Webb said: “The club owes a depth of gratitude to Braintree RFC.

“This was the first team the Steelers won against and it spurred the founding members on to create the building blocks for the club we see today.

“This game is hugely important as it gives us the opportunity to remember where we started from and why, 23 years ago, an inclusive rugby club was needed.

“We’re now bigger and stronger than ever and we’re proud to call them friends and uphold this tradition.”

Many involved with the Steelers during the late Nineties argue victory over Braintree RFC helped revive the club, which had struggled for player numbers ever since it was formed following a meeting in a gay pub in London's Kings Cross district in 1995.

Founder Lord Robert Hayward says the link between the two teams has been strong ever since the first meeting between the sides and has thanked Braintree for their continued support.

He said: “After two years of struggling to find enough players and then to win games we were very close to folding.

“I’m sure it hurt to be the first team to lose to us but they have been unbelievably supportive since.”

“The white stiletto was intended as a bit of a micky take aimed at Essex social habits.”

Braintree MP James Cleverly added: “The creation of the Kings Cross Steelers RFC 20 years ago represents a milestone in LGBT history.

“As the first ever inclusive team they’ve gone on to inspire other all over the world to do the same. I am proud that a rugby club in my constituency, Braintree RCF, plays such a rich part of the clubs history."

Kings Cross Steelers now has over 300 members from over 20 nationalities, and regularly puts out four competing sides.

It is also a founder members of the International Gay Rugby organisation.