Rugby has been played at Dewsbury Moor for over 50 years. However, for quite a few years, it was allowed to lapse, until over a convivial drink in The Quarry public house, it was suggested that a team should be entered into a novice's competition being run by the Dewsbury & Batley League with the hope that this would encourage new teams.
The year was 1968, Dewsbury Moor ARLFC got through to the final and a team was entered into a newly formed Sunday 11 a-side league. A committee was formed; Harry Brook, landlord of The Quarry Inn was elected Chairm, with Mick Smithson as Secretary. A set of second hand jerseys were purchased from Dewsbury Celtic and Jack Addy (now on the current committee)was appointed coach.
On and off the field, the going was hard for the first two seasons. However, although both the players and committee were novices, rapid progress was made and the club finally rented an old mill house and converted it into changing rooms with the expert guidance of Brian Chappell and Secretary Mick Smithson and materials begged, borrowed and occasionally just arriving from nowhere!
The club spent two happy years here, signing a full squad of Yorkshire Schools Cup Winners from the local High School, St John Fisher to form an under 17s side. At the same time, the club's first player turned professional, signing for Doncaster. Unfortunately, he broke a leg in his second game from which he never fully recovered but was to go on to become a first grade coach.
In 1972, the club received a major set back when the rented premises were sold. The club were offered the use of facilities at Dewsbury Celtic, on a temporary basis and after much searching finally bought an old ice cream factory for Â£1000. Many novel ways were sought to raise funds to make the repayments including the raffling of two pigs!
The players and committee, organised by Brian Chappell, once again set about the hard work of converting this building, to provide baths and showers and changing facilities.
In 1973, Ken Audsley ran a coaching course for juniors which resulted in junior teams being formed. These were run by an enthusiastic seperate committee who raised money by various means, including dances, paper collections, rag collections and other methods.
In January 1975, Moor was the first northern based team to play a southern league team in an organised competition, when they were drawn at Ealing in the BARLA National Cup.
Following the success of the junior sides and the hard work of the committee, it was decided to join both sections of the club together and form a new committee. This was the beginning of a new era for the club. Many things had happened since the formation of the club over those few drinks in The Quarry, but these were to pale into significance to the things that were to happen in the next few years.
The new committee had set their sights high. The club now had four junior teams of different age groups and it was decided to convert the remaining part of the building into a club room with bar facilities. The then Secretary and Chairman were to play a big part in the venture, meeitn various council officials and brewery representatives for planning permission, loans etc while still helping with alterations to the club. Finally in 1977, after much hard work, by many people, the bar and it's facilities were opened by the Deputy Major of Kirklees and Maurice Lorded of BARLA. At last, members were able to enjoy the luxuries of the hard work over the previous years.
Since 1977, the club has gone from strength to strength. In 1982, with further assistance and finance from Bass Brewery, players, members and parents embarked on the construction of a large new extension to the club facilities to include a lounge extension of 1000 square feet, a fully equipped gymnasium, sauna and revamping of the shower area to include 36 fully equipped showers.
By 1994, it was obvious that yet again, because of the number of players now using the club faciliites, that further developments were needed. Using money raised through fund raising events, two additional changing rooms and a new beer cellare were constructed.
Since the early days of 1968, the club has progressed rapidly, both on and off the field with nine teams ranging in age from under 8's through to open age.
Throughout the period 1968 - 1994, the club played all it's games either in the local park, nearby fields, or eventually on two pitches that the club rented from Kirklees Council, situated on land designated for a land fill site. However, in 1994, the club was informed by Kirklees Council that the two pitches were to be taken back as part of the land fill programme. With ten teams in operation, this was devastating news to the club and would prove disastrous to the youth of the area with nowhere to play fixtures.
Fairclough Homes Ltd were building a new housing development in Dewsbury Moor and as part of the planning permission for the development, provision had to be made for two pitches on the land. The club approached the builders regarding provision of the pitches but they were unable to help. A plea to Kirklees Council for them to enforce the provision of the pitches was unsuccessful due to the Council having insufficent funds to develop the allocated land.
The club enquired about purchasing the land from the builders and with encouragement from the Council, were able to enter into negotiations.
The committee approached the existing brewery to extend their loan, but due to the economic climate of the day, were unable to do so. However, a loan was finally secured from Ward's Brewery, Sheffield, who were more than ready to become involved with the club. The purchase went through in 1994 with the aim for the pitches to be ready for the 1994/95 season.
However, this still would not provide sufficient playing areas for the number of teams the club was now operating, nor would it give sufficient playing areas for other avenues that the club members were expressing interest in i.e girls/women's hockey teams, netball and possibly cricket - all sports that the area of Dewsbury Moor did not facilitate.
With this in mind, Brian Delaney, on behalf of the committee, approached Mr Wraith, the owner of the land at the rear of the club, who advised him that Fairclough Homes had an option on the land.
The club once again approached Fairclough Homes and a meeting was arranged with club representatives, Chris Robinson & Brian Delaney and David Ruffley of Fairclough Homes. An agreement was made to develop a joint scheme, which would give the club another much needed pitch and land to extend the car park at the club house. It was hoped that this joint venture would assist in the planning application being submitted by Fairclough Homes.
Morton International (chemical works) were also preparing a planning application to extend their buildings further along the road from the club house. It was acknowledged that a buffer zone would be required between the works and the housing development. Seeing another opportunity, the club approached Morton International to see if it would be possible to purchase the adjacent strip of land and develop it into a third rugby pitch. Morton International agreed in principal, providing that all planning applications were approved.
Two joint planning applications were submitted, one between the club and Fairclough Homes and the other between the club and Morton International. Both applications were passed subject to an A106 planning agreement.
The next obstacle to clear, once again, was how to fund the projects. Fortunately, Wards Brewery of Sheffield, came to the rescue with an interest free loan, repaid by discounted barrelage.
With everything now in place, the formation of the fields began, a major operation in itself. A total of 18,380 cubic metres was evacuated from the land bought from Morton International and then deposited onto the Fairclough Homes' land, to enable the levelling of the two pitches to commence. Some 1200 metres of ground drainage was laid and a total of 2230 cubic metres of top soil was then deposited. The final phase of the project was to seed and fence the playing areas.
The work on the project began in late November of 1995 with the seeding completed late spring of 1996, in readiness for the new season.
A special thank you must be given to David Ruffey, Planning Manager, Fairclough Homes, for his invaluable help and support in the planning and purchasing of the additional rugby fields. Not forgetting the club committee, players and members for their invaluable efforts to provide the club with these additional assets.
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