A Short History of Heath R.U.F.C

(Formerly Heath Old Boys RUFC)

The idea of forming an Old Boys Rugby Club arose probably during 1927 at the time Heath Grammar School changed from Association Football to Rugby Union. Although the first official season was 1928/29, games were played on an “ad hoc” basis during 1927/28, a team of Heath Old Boys and Schoolboys playing both soccer & rugby according to whichever could be arranged.

1932 – Heath Old Boys are the only team to beat Copley on their own ground & one of only two teams to beat Brighouse Rangers A XV

1934-5 – Season Beat local rivals Old Crossleyans three times including a 46-3 victory in the Cup.

1935- The Club Treasurer, Rex Fry, who it was said “Could pull strings at the Town Hall” managed to obtain for the Club the lease of Corporation owned land at West Vale. Changing facilities were in another pub, the Bridge Inn, which stood on the left hand side of Rochdale Road. There was a large communal bath built into an outhouse with hot water from an electric water heater.

1937- The Club reaches the Shield semi-final and third round of the Yorkshire Cup.

1940- The Club offers the shared use of the ground to Old Crossleyans as Broomfield had been requisitioned for food planting.

1948- Heath is the last local club to reform after the war with home games held at another ground for a season.

1949- First post war games held at Wes Vale on November 26th.

1952-The Club’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated with a Reunion Dinner at the White Swan Hotel. The Club hosted the first local 7 a side tournament for the Sutcliffe Cup.

1955-The Club is disbanded due to lack of support.

1956- The Club reforms and whilst results are not brilliant it survives.

1960- A ten year lease is obtained on the ground and plans drawn up for the construction of a pavilion and changing rooms in two stages.

1963- The new changing rooms are ready for use at a cost of £600 as fund raising was difficult with no base but results are dire with only 3 victories and two draws from 35 matches.

1966/67 Season- Much improved results with 29 wins out of 35 games losing in the semi-final of the Shield and the fourth round of the Cup, win the Bramley Sevens and reach the semi-finals of both the Sutcliffe Cup and the Bridlington Sevens.

1968- Reach the Shield Final and beat Heath G.S. in the Sutcliffe Cup Final.

1971- Work commenced in the summer on the long awaited Clubhouse at an estimated cost of £2250. The opening game was against Roundhay.

1973- Heath entertained a team from Syracuse University in New York; the first American team to play in Halifax.

1974- Three teams were now being fielded and the facilities were becoming too small. Yorkshire Water became the freeholders and a new 28 lease was negotiated with plans drawn up for additional changing and bar facilities and the creation of a new pitch at a cost of £20,000.

1975- It was agreed to drop the “Old Boys” from the Club name.

1976- The new extensions were opened by ex-British Lion John Spencer before a match against a Rugby Press XV.

1979- The Golden Jubilee Season culminating in winning the Yorkshire Silver Trophy.

1987- The start of the new season is profoundly affected by an accident on the M6 near Lancaster which saw the loss of Mick Hiller Secretary for over 18 years, Tom Park Treasurer between 1963/64 and 1974/75 and Keith Whitaker a First XV Captain in the late Fifties. Amongst the injured were Russell Smith President since 1969/70, David “Harry” Brearley Chairman between 1974/75 and 1984/85 and Keith Johnson Fixture Secretary since 1957/58.

1990- The Clubhouse was extended again at the rear to provide an enlarged kitchen, Bar and Ladies facilities.

1998- A side extension was completed to provide a covered entrance, physio facilities and an enlarged clubroom.

1997/98- The Club is promoted to Yorkshire Division 3

1998/99- Promotion to Yorkshire Division 2.

2000/01- Reorganisation again in Yorkshire Division 3.

2001/02- The Season to remember! Winners of the Powergen Junior Vase at Twickenham, winners of the Yorkshire Silver Trophy and promoted to Yorkshire Division 2 as Champions.

2004/05- Relegated to Yorkshire Division 3.The First Year of the Five Year Plan agreed and the Club gained the Seal of Approval. The Club also gained an award in respect of volunteering.

2005/06- Promoted back to Yorkshire Division 2 as Champions and the Second Year Seal of Approval gained. Good work was being done in respect of Junior teams.

2006/07- Promoted to Yorkshire Division 1 as runners up happened at the last game against North Ribblesdale. The Old Brodleians from the division above were beaten in the Shield at West Vale. The Third Year Seal of Approval was gained.

Work started in the close season on a new entrance off Stainland Road and tiered seating was completed in the stand courtesy of an anonymous donor. The RFU agreed to a grants package for the installation of match floodlighting.

2007/08- The Fourth Year Seal of Approval was granted by the RFU. The Clubhouse was refurbished both inside and out. Local Charities were supported by hosting a Live ‘Eath Concert.

2008/09- The new entrance was finally completed and the car park extended. The Fifth Year Seal of Approval was granted.

2013- The newly extended Clubhouse incorporating two new changing rooms, referees room & physio room was opened in September by Manu & Freddie Tuilagi.

2015-  The RFU granted the Club "Club Accreditation" successor to the Seal of Approval.

2015-  The Club was selected to be in a short list of six clubs nationwide as Finalaists in the President's Award for Facilities and was "Highly Commended"