KNOTTINGLEY RUGBY UNION CLUB
ADDED 7 APRIL 2007
After seeing the photograph in the December issue of the Digest
featuring Knottingley Rugby Union Club, I thought I would put together a
few words about when the present club started.
During the early 1960s, myself and a chap called Albert Firth, who lived
in Island Court, used to go over to Castleford Rugby Union Club on a
Saturday and have a game in their 2nd or 3rd team.
One night whilst having a beer or two in the old Cherry Tree public house,
someone mentioned the fact that Knottingley used to have a Rugby Union
team before the Second World War. We set about gathering some information
about it and were told that Mr. Granville Burdin, a potato merchant in the
town, had actually played for this team. With the intention of
resurrecting the team I approached him and he readily agreed to be our
club Chairman. It turned out to be a first class decision and for many
years he was a steady and hard working influence on the formation of the
After approaching Mr. Frank Jackson of Jackson Glass, he agreed to be our
first President so then the hard work started of raising a team, finding a
ground and somewhere to get changed and entertain the opposition.
The Council kindly gave us the use of Howards Field where the present team
still play. Our first changing rooms were the old billiards and snooker
room above the bar of the Commercial Inn in the Bendles, now called the
Steam Packet, where 30 of us attempted to get showered after the match in
a normal household bath into which we had one shower. It was then down
into the bar for pie and peas (Morris's of course) and many pints of beer.
Our first match was against Leeds YMCA during 1963/64. The reigning
Carnival Queen, Miss Linda Blakeston I think, kicked off the match and at
the side of the field Granville had brought one of his trailers on which
were sat a few of the towns councillors. We won that first match by 15pts
to 5pts or somewhere in that region, and when the full time whistle went
you would have thought we had won at Twickenham!
The team that day was:
Full Back: G. Grey
Wings: Ian Exelby and Bob Lightowler
Centres: Dick Penty and Stuart Jardine
Half Backs: Sammy Reynolds and Albert Firth
Front Row: Roy Ashton, Bill Hobman, Eric Daniels
Second Row I believe was: Harry Johnson and Tony Brearley
Back Row: Dave Jervis, Brian Hunter, Dave Renshaw
Referee: Ken Cookman from Castleford
Shortly after the first match we were joined by Geoff Knight who proved
over the years to be a great team member, going on to become Captain and
Over the years, through hard work by many people, the club has gone from
strength to strength, eventually having a clubhouse at the side of the
field which, through the efforts of a dedicated committee, particularly
Mr. Len Lifsey, provided a lovely little clubhouse that for many years was
a focal point for many aspiring young players and the scene of many social
Within the last couple of years or so a young progressive committee have
overseen the erection of a new clubhouse and changing rooms that must be
among one of the best in the North of England. The team now plays in the
Yorkshire 2nd Division and more than holds its own with the many old
established clubs who play in that league.
All the many people who have worked for the club and played over the last
forty years or so must be very proud on where it is today and of the
efforts to put it there and all would wish it continued success.
Past Captain and President
7 April 2007