History 5 of 24

5. Keith Dale - A Brief History

Brief History by A. K. (Keith) Dale
Newcastle Rugby Club can trace its roots back to the beginning of the 1940’s when a number of boys who had recently left Newcastle High School, were too young to join the forces and were recruited to join with the Home Guard to play in a team against scratch sides.
After the war, these players who returned to “Civvy Street" looking to continue their rugby careers, joined the recently reformed Stoke Rugby Club in 1946.
Stoke Rugby club were overwhelmed with the number of players being recruited and were unable to satisfy the demand, so eventually in October 1947 at a meeting at Stoke Rugby Club the committee approached the Newcastle based players with a view to forming a rugby club at Newcastle.
Two officials from the Stoke club were seconded to oversee the formation of the new club and the inaugural meeting took place at the Guildhall in Newcastle in the first week of November 1947. The meeting was attended by some twenty individuals and the Newcastle (Staffs) Rugby Union Football Club was formed.
The officials appointed included the Secretary, Roger Heath, the Treasurer, Peter Smith, the Chairman, John Fairbrother along with the Captain, Clive Rogers.
A leading figure in the pottery industry in North Staffordshire, Major Tom Simpson MC JP, accepted the invitation to become President.
A pitch was arranged at Trentham on Hisseys field with changing facilities at a local school and a number of fixtures were arranged. However, after experiencing a number of difficulties with the facilities, negotiations with Newcastle Borough Council produced a response and a pitch was allocated to the rugby club on Roe Lane playing fields. Changing facilities were provided in an adjacent building formally used by the Womens Land Army. After match activities were held at the Beestons Vaults in Newcastle town centre.
In 1952 Newcastle split from Stoke RUFC to become an independent club.
The club went from strength to strength, outgrowing its home in Roe Lane, leading to the club looking for a suitable area to create a new headquarters.
Again negotiations with Newcastle Borough Council took place and in 1954 a lease was taken out on land at Lilleshall Road, Clayton, the clubs’ present home. Changing facilities were at Mothers Pride Bakery on the A34 adjacent to the Springfield Hotel at Trent Vale.
In the meantime work commenced on a clubhouse and in October 1956 facilities at Lilleshall Road were eventually opened and the clubhouse was further extended in the autumn of 1960 with the addition of a 60ft x 30ft building acquired from the former munitions factory at Swynnerton. The formal opening was carried out in June 1961 by Major Tom Simpson.
Growth of the club has continued and at the time of writing, 1997, in its 50th year, the club now fields 5 Senior teams along with a Ladies XV and a flourishing Mini Section for age groups 8-17 years.