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Club History

Club Chairmen and Club Captains (link)
Presidents Trophy Award Winners (link)
Honours (link)

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 and had two teams and a picture from that period has been reproduced and can be seen on the clubhouse wall. The team, like many others, ceased playing in 1939 due to the Second World War. It did not reform for another 20 years.

The clubs 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 Newnham 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. Sadly Mr Fox went on holiday to the West Indies and had a heart attack and died. The deal was never concluded and the Park was sold off.

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 proved to be a great asset providing several first XV captains and numerous players for the senior teams. It is now a very successful youth and junior section of the club.

In 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 1920's. 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 1991 a Vets XV was started due to the work of Brian Aston which enables ageing players to continue playing allegedly at a less intense level.

Whilst members today may think that the facilities leave much to be desired they should remember all the hardships earlier members endured. The description of the earlier facilities was 'rustic rugby at best' (Yorkshire Evening Press - circa 1978). Throughout the History of the Club there has been great camaraderie and much good spirit (mainly beer) among members. Let us hope it continues in generations to come.

As we enter a new chapter in Wetherby RUFC history after winning the Yorkshire 5 division, and the plans to redevelop Grange Park club house it is an exciting time to be part of this clubs history.

If you have any further details to add to our clubs history, through photographs, or added information, please do not hesitate to email me at s.e.lally@hotmail.co.uk

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Chairmen and Captains Listed on this page are Wetherby's RUFC Chairmen and Club Captains over the last five decades.

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