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 Gav Wilson

The Fall and Rise of York Rugby League

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heres to the furure gav

with forward thinking, positive minded people like you on board the knights are giving themselves a great chance. A club in the city of York playing at top level woiuld be great for rugby league

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nice links for a good club

got a couple of mates who support the knights and there always keen as mustard about them

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A SL club in York would be fantastic, [selfish mode]about time us RL fans in Hull had a closer team than the West Yorkshire clubs down the M62.[/selfish mode]

Great to see people like Gav with his enthusiasm for his club and the game in general.

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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this article, Gav and wish you and all those associated with the club all the best for the future.

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York has great potential and with my brother moving to thrisk I hope to catch a few matches when visiting. Would I be right in thinking that north Yorkshire is rugby union territory apart from York city knights and the amateur clubs in York?

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Pretty much. The western part of NY has a few BARLA teams though.

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Pretty much. The western part of NY has a few BARLA teams though.

North Yorkshire is a bit like Cumbria, huge area and sparsely populated with small market towns and villages, yet Cumbria produces a fair amount of super league and championship players. Still has potential though, the key I guess is just like everything else money and grassroots development.

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Yeah but Whitehaven, Workington and Barrow are the centres of Cumbrian RL, they are hardly pretty market towns. Towns like Kendal or Keswick or Cockermouth have little or no RL.

North Yorkshire has never had much industry, York is the major exception to this rule, although we think of York as a student / tourist / genteel place today, it was anything but during the industrial revolution. Hence they play RL (to some extent) but towns like Harrogate, Thirsk, Ripon, Hawes, Knaresborough, Wetherby, Masham, Pickering, Scarborough aside from the occasional RLC side and of course Pirates.

Towns / villages like Barnoldswick (occupied by Lancashire but old West Riding), Cowling, Greetland etc in the west of NY and near to Bradford district have RL sides but are generally too small to make much impact.

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Pretty much. The western part of NY has a few BARLA teams though.

You made me double take there. I thought you were talking about the Buffalo Brawlers or the Rochester Raiders for a moment.

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I too think a SL team in York would be great. Here we have a decent sized city with a amateur infrastructure and tradition, with a brand new stadium on the horizon but when I suggested it on a post last year and also Doncaster and Sheffield and maybe Barrow, I got howled down by the doomsday crowd and then assailed by fanciful dreams and suggestions teams in Barcelona, Dublin and Glasgow.

Now that Featherstone are showing what can be done, maybe teams such as York will not be be written off for SL out of hand because they cannot get there tomorrow. To my mind York has the population, the geographicl location with good transport links, shortly will have the stadium and would be an iconic venue for Sky. They need the finances and leadership and I see no reason whatsoever why a SL team in the City would be an impossibilty.

On another note, just as Keighley might have had a different history had they got to Wembley in 1976, I well remember York and the semi final against Wigan where they were very unlucky to lose and the whole history of York RLFC might have been different if they had made Wembley and kicked on from that.

From memory did you not play Castleford in the third round at York and get a huge attendance demonstrating the potential for RL in the City?

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Yeah but Whitehaven, Workington and Barrow are the centres of Cumbrian RL, they are hardly pretty market towns. Towns like Kendal or Keswick or Cockermouth have little or no RL.

North Yorkshire has never had much industry, York is the major exception to this rule, although we think of York as a student / tourist / genteel place today, it was anything but during the industrial revolution. Hence they play RL (to some extent) but towns like Harrogate, Thirsk, Ripon, Hawes, Knaresborough, Wetherby, Masham, Pickering, Scarborough aside from the occasional RLC side and of course Pirates.

Towns / villages like Barnoldswick (occupied by Lancashire but old West Riding), Cowling, Greetland etc in the west of NY and near to Bradford district have RL sides but are generally too small to make much impact.

There is a newsagent in Keswick that sells more different rugby league papers and magazines than I knew existed until I had been in there. The man in the shop is a very friendly man and is often wearing a St.Helens shirt!

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Towns / villages like Barnoldswick (occupied by Lancashire but old West Riding), Cowling, Greetland etc in the west of NY and near to Bradford district have RL sides but are generally too small to make much impact.

Greetland is a village on the hilltop above Elland and Halifax.

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There is a newsagent in Keswick that sells more different rugby league papers and magazines than I knew existed until I had been in there. The man in the shop is a very friendly man and is often wearing a St.Helens shirt!

cockermouth also have a rugby league team.

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cockermouth also have a rugby league team.

They do but AFAIK it has not been going long.

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York,despite having any success since the 1930,s could attract good crowds at the old Clarence St ground. For the years 55/6 to 57/8 the average attendance was over 6,000 for all games. The Leeds games usually got crowds of 10 - 12,000, and a cup game against Doncaster was witnessed by 10,444.

The point i,m making is that there is latent support for the game of RL ,whilst not suggesting the above crowds will ever again be reached but with a little(or even lot) more success the whole game of RL would reap the benefit.

Well done all who have kept the club going.

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A very nice article, Gavin. I'm old enough to remember some big crowds at the old Clarence Street ground. As you say, it was ideally located near to the city centre. The people who ran the club in those days bear a heavy responsibility for its decline.

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Thanks Martyn, coming from you with all your RL Writing experience that means a lot!

Thank you everybody else for your kind comments too, they're all greatly appreciated. :)

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York, brill city, SL would be richer for their inclusion.

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I'm old enough to remember some big crowds at the old Clarence Street ground. As you say, it was ideally located near to the city centre. The people who ran the club in those days bear a heavy responsibility for its decline.

On what basis exactly Martyn???

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