History of the Yorkshire Junior Amateur Rugby League
Prior to 1974, all Junior rugby was played only in Schools, and with Schools that did not have rugby in their weekly curriculum (and most did not) it meant that many youngsters did not get the chance to learn the skills of rugby league .
In 1974 a group of enthusiasts from Dewsbury and Batley realised the need for providing Rugby League for youngsters in the area. A series of coaching sessions were organised at Savile Town, Dewsbury inviting youngsters to come along each Saturday for six weeks free of charge. 140 boys turned up for the first training session which had been organised by the Dewsbury RL coach Maurice Bamford and assisted by several Dewsbury players and local amateur coaches. At the end of the six coaching sessions it was decided to form a League at U15s with Shaw Cross, Dewsbury Moor, Thornhill and Dewsbury Boys being the founder members.
An inaugural meeting was held at Shaw Cross Boys Club Dewsbury (where they are still held to this day) and it was decided to form the Kirklees Junior Amateur Rugby League, the appointments of Norman Waite as Chairman, (Stan Baron for a few months) then Alf Tattersfield as Secretary and Les Hardy as Treasurer. It was decided to extend the coaching sessions to Batley, then followed sessions at Drighlington, Spenborough, Ossett and Horbury from where teams were formed and recruited to join the League.
The League increased in 1975 with an U13s age group and by 1978 were running U10s, U12s, U14s and U16s. The growth of the League resulted in an inevitable change of name and it became the Yorkshire Junior League.
Over the next few years teams from Castleford, Wakefield, York and Leeds had joined to increase it's membership becoming the biggest league in B.A.R.L.A running teams at U8s 9s 10s 11s 12s 13s 14s 15s, providing "grass roots" rugby for over 4000 youngsters representing over 50 Clubs, and 200 teams.
In 1999 we celebrated our Silver Jubilee which had been achieved by the stability of the long serving Management of Reg Rowbottom Chairman 17 years, Colin Handforth Treasurer 15 years and Dougie Eastwood Secretary and Fixture Secretary 10 years and Dave Wright Fixture Secretary 20 years. Founder members present on the night were J Berry, J Salisbury, G Cox, A Tattersfield and D Hird BEM.
In 2002 the Yorkshire Juniors Delegates made a decision that would rock the Amateur game by refusing to continue with B.A.R.L.A and run the Yorkshire Junior League on their own. Over the years since that decision, the dedicated and hard working Management Committee led by Denise Waite President, John Peat Chairman, Colin Handforth Treasurer (and Constitution Guru) and Charlie Bray General Secretary along with the many long and recently new serving Committee members over the years have gone from strength to strength by always looking to improve the standard of the League for the good of Junior Rugby.
We have now achieved the Sport England "Leaguemark" which is an accreditation that shows the Leagues administration is of the highest standard.
This coming season will be the beginning of a new chapter in our history when the whole of the Yorkshire Juniors will play "Summer Rugby" and to get this introduced there will be a short season from September to November for teams to play in and then the season will commence in March 2012.
2012 has now seen new clubs applying from Leeds and Swillington along with several West Riding clubs that have joined us for the "Summer season" and has now increased the League to over 70 Clubs and 300 teams. There will be exciting times ahead and one that a lot of people are looking forward too.
In 2013 we begin another era where the few West Riding clubs that remained last seaon will now join the league along with the introduction of an U16s Youth League will increase the league to become the largest it has ever been.
Once again we owe all the people who have ever worked on or with the Yorkshire Junior League a great debt of gratitude for their loyal and devoted service and to all the Member Clubs and their dedicated Officials whose input is so important to the League.
Our thanks go to our main sponsors FAM soft drinks for their sponsorship and Trevor Rodwell for his help over the many years they have supported the League.
Member Clubs 2013
Bradford Dudley Hill
Crigglestone All Blacks
Dearne Valley Bulldogs
Doncaster Toll Bar
Huddersfield St Josephs
King Cross Park
Leeds Irish Clovers
Meltham All Blacks
New Earswick All Blacks
North Derbyshire Chargers
North Leeds Leopards
Shaw Cross Sharks
Sheffield Hilsborough Hawks
West Leeds Eagles
Yorkshire Coast Titans