Mon 05 Nov 2018 18:36

There is evidence that Wetherby had a rugby club as early as 1934. Yorkshire Rugby Union records show that B H Hayes played against Cumberland in that year. The Club played on the Ings, had two teams, and a picture from this period has been reproduced and can be seen on the Clubhouse wall. The Club, like many others, ceased playing in 1939 due to the Second World War and it did not reform for another 20 years.

The Club's re-birth started in 1966 thanks to the efforts of Richard and Ron Etherington who had been playing for Tadcaster Rugby Union. They managed to get a team together to play three evening games at the end of the 1965-66 season; they played Moortown, Lanswood and Headingley 4ths. Whilst they did not win any of these fixtures they were not put off and commenced playing the following season after holding a public meeting in the New Inn and rounding up enough support.

They obtained the use of a pitch on land in Lime Kiln Lane, Kirk Deighton and erected a concrete changing room the size of a double garage. The Clubhouse was the Bay Horse and the Landlord, Harold Hornby, provided refreshments. He also presented a tankard to be awarded annually as the Eva Hornby Tankard. The Club moved its headquarters to the Old Brunswick pub and when the Tadcaster club folded Wetherby received the prized Geoff Clarkson who served the Club for many years until his untimely death in 2007. They remained at Lime Kiln Lane for a further six years before moving. In 1970-71 the Chairman at that time was Phil Newham who sought a change of venue. He had reached an agreement with the owner of Grange Park, a Mr Fox, to move there in perpetuity at no cost.

A move was however made to Losh Pot Lane, across the old A1 at Kirk Deighton in 1971-72, although the matches were all played away from home whilst the pitches were laid out. The old concrete changing rooms were moved to the site and a larger wooden billet hut was bought from an army surplus sale in Cumbria and converted into a clubhouse.

This new Facility came into use for the 1972-73 season and whilst there the Club grew and regularly fielded 3 teams. In 1981 a Junior Section was formed thanks to the efforts of Mel Jones which has since proved to be a great asset providing several first XV captains and numerous players for the senior teams. It is now a highly successful Junior Section of the Club.

During the 1980's the old A1 was upgraded for a third time. This time the Ministry of Transport chose to compulsorily purchase part of Grange Park to enable the road to be widened. As a result Wetherby Cricket Club, our joint tenants, had to move their cricket pitch further into the Park. They needed, therefore, to rebuild the old pavilion which had been there since the 1920s. Negotiations between the Rugby and Cricket Clubs and the owner of Grange Park, David Hudson, resulted in a move to Grange Park and the opening of a splendid new Clubhouse and the creation of a superb cricket pitch and two equally excellent rugby pitches. The Clubhouse and grounds were officially opened in April 1989.

In more recent times the Club has had a huge revival. The Clubhouse at Grange Park was extended and vastly improved in 2013 and in the following couple of seasons Wetherby shot from Yorkshire Four to Yorkshire Two including a 59 game unbeaten run that gained them National attention. The Club's Mini and Junior Sections have gone from strength to strength with several age groups getting the latter stages of the Yorkshire Cup with a few champions in there as well.

With your support we see the Club going from strength to strength and hopefully achieving Yorkshire One status in the near future.