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Pitchero Club

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History


The Club was formed in 1926 by Old Boys and Masters of West Leeds High School. The brainchild of the then headmaster, Thomas Curzon it was based at the School with matches on the School playing fields. Membership was restricted to Old Boys and Teachers of the School, the Club played under the banner of West Leeds High School Old Boys R.U.F.C.

At first only one XV was turned out, but by the outbreak of the Second World War two teams were playing regularly. After the War two teams were once again playing, using the School fields but now based at the White Horse Public House on Armley Town Street. We can only imagine that the reason behind the move of headquarters was that the lads liked a good walk after the game.

Wishing to be more independent of the School, the Club rented a pitch on Lawns Lane, Farnley from Stephenson Farm, with thoughts of developing their own ground. Unfortunately this did not materialise due to a dispute with the Farmer over the Club installing Showers in the Cow Shed.

In the late fifties the Alexander WMC sports ground on Bluehill Lane came on the market. At a meeting held in the West Leeds School Hall sufficient financial support was pledged to buy the site outright at a price of £1,600. Originally the site was prepared for cricket (the square being prepared by En Tout Cas who prepared the Playing fields for the Melbourne Olympics) and rugby. Regrettably the cricket section folded in 1970 due to lack of 'off the field' support . A good deal of effort both in time and money raising was needed before the ground and clubhouse were complete. At first the Clubhouse consisted of a tin hut placed in the top corner of the site, now occupied by the car park. A wooden structure was acquired in 1963 from Ripon Army Barracks but unhappily the wooden structure was lost in a fire in the early seventies to be replaced by the present structure once again after much fund raising.

In the early seventies due to falling playing numbers the Club decided to open its doors to non Old Boys playing under the present name of West Leeds R.U.F.C. The Club was in fact the last in Yorkshire to 'go open'.

Achievements on the field of play include winning of the Yorkshire Shield in 1954 and 2003, the Yorkshire Cup in 1957, finalists of the Tetley Bitter Vase played at Twickenham in 1998, Champions of Yorkshire Division I 1999/2000 and finalists of the RFU Senior Vase played at Twickenham in 2015.

The 2015/16 season was somewhat remarkable having narrowly missed out on promotion the previous season the Club won Yorkshire Division II with games to spare. An excellent run in the RFU Senior Vase saw the Club beat Devon side Withycombe 42-22 in the Twickenham final and then to cap it all the Club went on to win the Yorkshire Shield beating Yorkshire I champions Bradford & Bingley; culminating in being undefeated in the season and the Treble!.


Some distinguished players have played at the Club notably the Platt brothers, Keith who went on to play for Yorkshire, the legendary Frank Dobbs, said to be one of the best forwards never to have represented his county, David Breakwell, who represented Yorkshire in the County Final win at Twickenham in 1994 and Joe Bedford who played for England in the 2004 U21’s World Cup and has played for Sale Sharks, Saracens, Rotherham Leeds, Newport Gwent Dragons & Doncaster Knights. Very recently the Club welcomed back former Junior player, ex RL star Mark Calderwood who in the 2015/16 Treble winning season bagged 39 tries.

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