Debut game: 7th February 1885 v Volunteers
Final game: 20th November 1886 v Westbury Park
Number of Appearances: 5
The brothers Tom and Fred played in local rugby before 1883 but in order to get a game had often to travel to Bath or farther. Walking was generally the accepted means of getting to matches as it was much later that the bicycle became a common mode of transport for all classes. Tom Blanchard was the first Avonvale player to represent Bath and with his brother played a large part in the founding of the local village club. The earliest record of Blanchard on the rugby scene was in a game between Widcombe Institute and Weston School in March 1882 when Tom turned out as a forward for Widcombe. Tom’s playing talent developed first as a fly-half and then as a three-quarter. His skill as a player earned him recognition with Bath who he represented on many occasions in the 1880s. In the 7/2/1885 game he played as fly-half with his brother Fred on the wing.
The Blanchard family can be traced back to medieval times in the village and figures in the stained-glass window of the church depict a Crusader and his wife bearing the family name. Tom and Fred Blanchard were great-uncles of Ron Blanchard, President of Avonvale RFC. (Source: Bath Chronicle and Avonvale R.F.C. Centenary history)