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Heworth ARLFC

2 March 2024

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Hunslet

Hunslet

Club History

The Heworth Amateur Rugby League Club was formed in 1922 following a revival in the interest of rugby in York after the Yorkshire Cup Final between York and Bramley In the early days they had no permanent home or ground with the open age side being members of the local amateur league.

The 1930s realised the fruits of much hard work, junior sides were started and a base was established at the Tang Hall Hotel,sadly no longer there. Real progress was made in the 1950s and 60s when numerous successes in local cup competitions were achieved following the clubs acceptance to the Leeds & District league. Many players gained County and International honours and the club had the distinction of winning the Yorkshire Under 21 Cup in successive seasons 1951/52 and 1952/53

Heworth became one of Yorkshires leading clubs, and spurred on by successes on the field, went all out to obtain a ground and clubhouse of its own. That goal was finally reached with the opening of their current ground at Elmpark Way in 1971, and then the clubhouse in 1973 Much more has been done since then including extensions to the clubhouse and changing facilities, a covered stand, ground draining, floodlights etc. And when Heworth became the first amateur side to play in the Yorkshire Senior Competition Cup, and were drawn at home to Hunslet. Rugby League officials were so impressed with their superb facilities that they allowed Heworth to stage the game. Heworth, nicknamed The Villagers, very nearly produced a shock result, only losing 22-14 in the closest of encounters.

Heworth's strong youth policy was a major reason which led to the side reaching the BARLA Yorkshire Cup Open Age Final for the first time in its history, losing narrowly to Humberside side Mysons in season 1983/84 From 1982 to 1985 Heworth won three consecutive Yorkshire League Premier Division Championships, a record which still stands to this day.

Well over 200 players have signed professional forms over the years, with some of the most notable being Geoff Wriglesworth (Leeds), Ken Bowman (Huddersfield), Colin Forsyth (Oldham), David Watkinson (Hull Kingston Rovers) and Gary Divorty (Hull), Club Stalwart Barry Jackson, had a few seasons with Doncaster, PRO Ken Sykes had a 12 year career with Hunslet and Chris Hammerton played for York for over seven years.

Heworth were also one of the founder members of the BARLA National league, winning the championship in the inaugural 1986/87 season. Also in that same season they reached the National Cup Final for their first and so far only appearance; and in a keenly contested game at Headingley just lost out to NCL new boys Thatto Heath Further glory included Silk Cut Challenge Cup games against professional outfits Halifax (at the time Challenge Cup holdersthe game being all ticket due to the tremendous interest in the game; this still remains the only occasion when an amateur team has been involved in an all ticket game, drawing an attendance of nearly 5,000), Mansfield and Swinton (John Player Cup).

Success during the reign of coaches David Watkinson and Robin Divorty elevated Heworth to a position in the elite of amateur rugby league In 1993/94 Heworth won the Yorkshire Cup Final for the first time in its history, beating Beverley by 21 points to 6 at the Ryedale Stadium They also went on to record a tremendous treble by winning the National Conference League First Division title and the National Conference League Cup In 1994/95 Heworth reached the Yorkshire Cup Final for a second successive season, losing to Skirlaugh 24-20 And in the National Conference League, Heworth won 16 out of 22 games to come close runners-up to Woolston RoversIn the Silk Cut Challenge Cup Heworth overcame fellow amateur sides Littleborough (Rochdale) and Hensingham (Cumbria) to gain a third round tie at Leigh; and in a titanic struggle they just lost out 40-28, at that time scoring the most points ever against a professional outfit.

The following season Heworth just lost out 22 points to 18 at Bramley in the third round of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup Indeed, the professionals scored the winning try in the 79th minute of a game, that Heworth should really have won. Good performances have also been produced against professional outfits Oldham, Leigh and Batley (twice).

After a difficult few seasons the Club reluctantly took the decision to withdraw from the National Conference League in 2015 and embarked on a rebuilding programme in the Yorkshire Mens League.
Following a successful four year period which culminated in Heworth winning the Division 1 championship in 2018 the Club was re-admitted to Division 3 of the NCL for the 2019 season and after finishing third just missed out on promotion losing to Dewsbury Celtic in the play-off final.
After a season lost to Covid, 2021 saw Heworth top the regional NCL Group and being invited to take promotion to Division 2 for the 2022 season. More success followed at the top of the table and again promotion to NCL Division 1, this time with an enormous points difference of 469 for the season.

The Club continues to field an Open Age second team in the Yorkshire Mens League.

Facilities have not been overlooked and in 2019 the Club opened a brand new building to provide four additional dressing rooms which enabled a state of the art gymnasium to be created within the existing Clubhouse, along with a fantastic outdoor stage and beer garden space to create a vibrant atmosphere for after match hospitality. 

Success on the pitch has to come from home grown talent and thanks to a dedicated and committed group of coaches, volunteers and sponsors the Club fields junior teams at virtually all age levels from Little Heroes upwards which it is hoped will ensure its long term future and retain its status as one of the leading amateur Clubs.

#upthevillagers 

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