Issue 90 - Page 38

Otley Rugby Club

Otley RUFC was formed in 1865 and is one of the most distinguished rugby clubs in the country .

Otley have played at the top of the national leagues for over two decades and spent some time in the championship . Over the years a number of internationals have come through our junior section , most notably Nigel Melville ( England and British Lion ) and more recently Danny Care . We are proud to have provided junior rugby for both boys and girls for over 50 years .

Cross Green is our current home and has hosted some memorable occasions including the North ’ s defeat of the mighty All Blacks in 1979 , the North versus Australia in in 1988 and Italy versus the
USA in the 1991 world cup . All proving to be a great success for the club and community .
But past success is no guarantee of a viable and sustainable future and much hard work is going on to secure that future .
We remain a family Rugby Club in the heart of the Otley community with an ambition to play rugby at the highest possible level within the national leagues for the benefit of our members , our supporters , and our community . We pride ourselves on delivering excellent coaching to maximise the potential of every player of any age wherever they may come from .
Although our past and our heritage is very important to us , we cannot stand still if we want to progress and secure the next 150 years for Otley Rugby Club .
The last few years have seen the emergence of our ambitious five-year strategic plan which we have been working on to create an exciting new future at our soon to be built first class new facilities , just 500 metres from the iconic Cross Green . The club is proposing to relocate from its current premises to a new site adjacent to the proposed East of Otley Relief Road .
Creating a simple vision that everyone in the club could get behind was the start of the journey . This was essential to get volunteers behind the ambition . Our plan identified 7 key areas of development from Financials through to Community with Rugby at its core . We are currently at the end of year 2 of the 5-year plan . As time passes the plan evolves and develops .
The new ground will transform the club ’ s facilities into one of the best in the North of England delivering a new club house , stand and pavilion , multiple pitches , car parking and better access . It is hoped that this development could be what is required to take the club to new heights and to achieve it ’ s vision .
Without the support of Persimmon Homes and McCarthy and Stone we would not have been able to consider such an enormous and exciting venture .
Otley Rugby Club ’ s Chairman Paul Mackie said :
“ After 5 years in the planning we ’ re extremely excited about these plans which represent a huge opportunity for the club and the wider Otley community . Investment in these facilities alongside delivery of the East of Otley Relief Road will allow us to inspire the next generation and encourage sports participation across all ages and genders .
“ These facilities are critical to allow us to achieve our ambition of securing community rugby and national league rugby at Otley for years to come . This relocation is key to unlocking the towns potential as a firstclass sporting venue whilst allowing Otley Rugby Club to get ahead of the regional competition in respect of sports facilities and great social space .
“ We believe this move will be the start of something really big for sport in Otley – not just for rugby . There is huge potential for many other of the existing sporting clubs and generations of young people to come to benefit from the new facilities over time .
“ Our 2025 vision is to be a welcoming , inclusive and successful family rugby club in the heart of Otley ’ s community ”
The last year has been a challenging time for the club , with the Covid lock down and the disappointment of the RFU best playing record formula meaning we were relegated at a crucial time in 2019 . But undeterred we have set about a plan to come out of Covid in a better shape than when we went in , and we have achieved that with the support of our many volunteers and members .
Progress this year has seen the planning applications for the new facility submitted , a new brand and communications strategy emerging , and an application lodged with the charity commission to become a Charitable Company Limited by Guarantee , which is due to be confirmed this year pushing our ambition even further .