Wetherby RUFC achieves historic promotion to North East 2

In 2010 Wetherby RUFC were languishing in the lowest tier of rugby union and struggling to raise a team each week. Fast forward to 2024 and the boys in the red and white hoops have achieved 6 promotions, culminating in yet another step up this season to North East 2. In what could be described as beyond most people’s imagination, the players strung together an unbeaten run in 2024 to propel them to 2nd in the league and a promotion spot.

Wetherby RUFC have always been famous for their strong junior section but in years gone by the better quality junior players have been tempted away to neighbouring clubs like Harrogate and Otley, clubs with deeper pockets and arguably stronger rugby history. The leadership team at Wetherby were constantly frustrated by this and put a plan together in 2012 that set the ambition for the club and paved the way for the success that was to follow. Promotion to Yorkshire 2 within 5 years was the goal. Improve the coaching provision, retain players with the promise of higher league rugby and make the player experience the best it can be. What followed was even beyond the committee’s ambition. Wetherby achieved this goal and went on to win Club of the Year at the National Rugby Awards at Twickenham for two seasons unbeaten and back to back promotions. The feel good factor was back at Grange Park.

Through retaining players, Wetherby found themselves nearly every week with 13 of the 18 man squad coming from within their junior ranks. Supported by a strong, high performing 2nd team that again was 80 per cent home grown players, Wetherby built player numbers with a seamless connection between both teams.

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In comment, Jonathan Hirst, Chairman said, “In what is my last year as Chairman, having served as junior and senior chairman over the past 12 years, this is the best news I could have hoped for. I have come to know these lads, most of whom have come through the junior sections, and have seen them grow into high performing rugby players under Evan’s leadership. I never had any doubt that they were good enough to gain promotion, nor did I lack any belief that Wetherby RUFC deserves to be in North East 2 or beyond given the amazing work the junior coaches do to develop their players and the set up we have at Grange Park. The camaraderie between the players goes back to when they were kids and I strongly believe that this is what separates us from many other clubs. And it is what will fuel our success in the coming years.

Wetherby RUFCWetherby RUFC
Wetherby RUFC

We are holding our second Annual Beer Festival on the 3rd and 4th May 2024 and what better way for the rugby family and wider community of Wetherby to come together and celebrate this historic achievement. With 80 beers on offer and a wide selection of champagne, prosecco, gins and non- alcoholic alternatives available this will be a brilliant weekend for families and friends. The tribute bands alone will create a real festival feel, and 20 degree sunny days are forecast. Tickets are selling fast so head to www.wetherbybeerfest.com to grab yours before it’s too late!”

Wetherby will be travelling further afield in their new league and are looking for sponsors to support them on the next phase of their journey. If you would like to discuss possible sponsorship options then please contact [email protected].