Thursday 25 May 2023

Successful Clubs - Otliensians

In Chapter Eight of 'Changing Times - Grassroots rugby union in Yorkshire 1987-2022' we feature a number of clubs both large and small from different parts of the county.

Some of the clubs operate in the top Northern or Yorkshire divisions others much lower down the pyramid. Some of the clubs have impressive modern facilities others much more modest. If success is only judged on 1st XV results then a number of the clubs featured would not be included in the chapter.

We leave it to the reader to decide whether the clubs we decided to include are successful.


Otliensians really struggled during the 2021-22 season. Playing numbers had been in decline for a number of years. Only fifteen years earlier the club had been able to field four teams and that became two in 2019, just a year after Otliensians had won the RFU Junior Shield at Twickenham. By 2021 the club was only able to field one adult team. Many of the club’s problems in 2021-22 were caused by the Covid pandemic but with only one team the loss of two or three experienced players had a big impact on results and also the club’s ability to field a team every week. Otliensians facilities are not as impressive as some of the other clubs featured in the case studies. However, they do have a small welcoming clubhouse well maintained changing rooms, two full size pitches and three junior pitches. The club was relegated to Yorkshire Four at the end of 2021-22 season and is finding that the level of competition in that division means that they are able to field a team that can compete. Off field there is a group of former players, the majority of them well past state retirement age, who give their time willingly to ensure that the ground is well maintained, clubhouse and dressing rooms are clean and the pitch prepared for the weekend’s fixtures. The club is optimistic about the future, former players have returned to the club and a colts team shared with Otley, their professional neighbours, should ensure a supply of young players in the coming years.

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Wednesday 24 May 2023

Lost Rugby Union Clubs - South Yorkshire

Between 1987 and 2022 fourteen South Yorkshire rugby union clubs went out of existence. Some of those clubs appeared to be well established and were able to organise multiple teams while others just managed to field one team and, as result, were often unable to cope with the loss of a few key players.

Rossington Hornets RUFC

Rossington Hornets were an unusual rugby union club in that they managed to become established in a village that had always been seen as a rugby league stronghold.

In 2005 the newly formed rugby union club took over the facilities at Rossington Miners Welfare that the amateur rugby league club also known as Rossington Hornets had previously used.

Rossington Hornets RUFC

The club played in the lower Yorkshire divisions and apart from the early years struggled to win many games. The team was made up initially of former rugby league players augmented by a number of young players brought to the club by their first coach. Unfortunately, Rossington’s lack of success meant that good players often moved to more established Doncaster clubs and for their last two seasons Rossington struggled both to raise a team and win games. The club folded in 2017 having finished bottom of Yorkshire Six.

What happened to the other thirteen South Yorkshire Clubs and rugby union in Yorkshire between 1987 and 2022?

'Changing Times - Grassroots rugby union in Yorkshire 1987 - 2022'

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