After the first meeting training sessions were held and new players appeared. Three friendlies were played and it was decided to enter the West Yorkshire League. The League played its games on Sunday mornings and so on Sunday September 18th 1977 the Rotherham Rangers club played its opening league fixture against Sheffield Concord. The game was played on a pitch on the grass area in front of Thomas Rotherham College, on Moorgate, near to the centre of the town. Sheffield Concord was a very poor team and despite Rangers only having fourteen players they still managed to win 33-25. In those days rugby league teams only had two substitutes which certainly made it easier to get a full team out.
Wins during the first three or four years of the club were not that frequent, but there were a lot of players who joined and went on to form the backbone of the club. Roger Render, Mike McLoughlin, Howard Charlesworth, Bernie Hunter, Andy Tyers and Jon Cook were some of the people who made massive contributions during the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s.
Rangers appeared in local cup finals on a number of occasions. They also managed to be promoted fairly regularly ending up in the 1st division of the West Yorkshire League. An ‘A’ team was formed in the mid 1980s and the Rangers also had an under 17 team for one season.
The club had a number of grounds during the 1970s and 1980s. Thomas Rotherham College was the base for nearly two seasons, followed by the Rotherham Co-op Club (now called Pitches) and then the Council sports ground -Herringthorpe Playing Fields. The club ended the 1980s playing on Herringthorpe with a team in the Yorkshire League, playing on Saturdays and an ‘A’ team playing in the West Yorkshire League on Sunday mornings.
In 2014 I am planning to produce a history of Rugby League in Rotherham that will trace the development of the sport in the town.
A Rotherham Rangers team from the 1970s