Situated in the idyllic West Yorkshire countryside lies Dewsbury Moor ARLFC, a dedicated youth set up that focuses exclusively on young players.
Rugby had been played at Dewsbury Moor for over half a century, but for a number of years it was allowed to lapse. This was until over a convivial drink at a local public house it was decided a side should be entered into a local novice’s competition to try and develop new teams at the club.
The year was 1968, and that resurrected side reached the final of the Dewsbury and Batley League. Following this early success a committee was established to help run the club, with the landlord of the local pub where the initial plans were put in place becoming Chairman.
The club struggled through its inaugural years but two years after its rebirth and Dewsbury found its first home at an old mill house. With materials and tools that were begged for, borrowed and occasionally appeared from nowhere, changing rooms were erected which enabled the signing of a full squad of Yorkshire Schools Cup Winners from the local high school.
In 1972 the club purchased an abandoned ice cream factory as it sought a new home ground, and through funds raised from paper collections and organised dances it was converted into a relatively modern and homely facility. Funds were also gained through the selling of two pigs!
More youth sides were added as interest in Dewsbury grew through the early 70’s, and ‘The Moor’ became the first northern side to play a southern team as they were drawn against Ealing in a national cup competition.
Since 1977, the club has gone from strength to strength. In the early 80’sthe club embarked on the construction of a large new extension to the club facilities to include a lounge extension, fully equipped gymnasium, sauna and revamping of the shower area.
However, The Moor almost disbanded as the local council decided to reclaim the land Dewsbury played on to create extra landfill capacity in the area. With ten teams in operation and after such dedication and hard work to create a flourishing club this was almost a terminal disaster for the club.
Through much negotiating with a local housing project, new fields were acquired and these remain Dewsbury’s home to date.
An interest free loan from Wards Brewery of Sheffield helped fund a seeding project to get the fields up to playing standard. With the completion of the pitches, the club was in the enviable position of owning three rugby pitches, it’s own club house and parking facilities, making Dewsbury Moor Rugby League Club, one of the few clubs in Rugby league to be totally self sufficient. And by 1996 the club was ready to embark on its next rugby campaign.
This remarkable small rugby club, inspired by a conversation and an idea in over a pint, has fought through no funding and numerous changes in venue but is finally reaping its rewards. Running sides from U12’s through the U18’s, this typically plucky Yorkshire club has a lot to be proud of. Here’s hoping their success continues throughout the following seasons.