Harrogate Rugby Club won’t make Rudding Park move this season

James Smithies the Chairman of Harrogate Rugby Union Club next to their new clubhouse at their new ground on Rudding Park Lane in Harrogate. (GL1004/36a)
James Smithies the Chairman of Harrogate Rugby Union Club next to their new clubhouse at their new ground on Rudding Park Lane in Harrogate. (GL1004/36a)
  • Harrogate Rugby Club’s move to Rudding Park delayed for third time
  • Move to new £3m facility will now take place for start of next season
  • Chairman admits he is ‘disappointed’ with the delay
  • Club’s game on Saturday will be the last ever at Claro Road
  • Currently no accommodation for club’s final home game on April 18

Harrogate Rugby Club will not be making their long-awaited move to Rudding Lane this season following further delays at the new ground.

The National Two North club had hoped to be in the £3m facility in January but this move was delayed until March after complications with the clubhouse.

But the club said yesterday that the move will not be completed this season.

Officials also confirmed Saturday’s game against Hull Ionians will remain the last played at Claro Road, Harrogate’s home for the last 119 years.

The move, funded by the club’s landlords Crest Nicholson, has left Harrogate in limbo over the final home match of the season against Luctonians on April 16.

“It is disappointing and that goes without saying,” said chairman James Smithies.

“We would have loved to be up and running by now but, through no fault of us or Crest it has taken longer than we would have expected.”

Smithies revealed the club decided to further delay their move as the remaining three pitches at Rudding Lane required ‘secondary drainage’.

He said: “Following a meeting of the committee we have agreed that this Saturday’s game against Hull Ionians will be the last first team match played at Claro Road.

“Discussions are continuing with Crest as to the practical completion of the Rudding Lane grounds and in the meantime we will be looking at finding alternative accommodation to take us through to the end of the season.

“That is our decision and not one that has been imposed on us. We want to have everything sorted so can everything sorted so we can start in a proper manner in 2015/16.

Despite the first team pitch and clubhouse being ready at Rudding Lane, the club will seek an alternative venue for the Luctonians clash.

Smithies said the club were in discussions with ‘two or three’ local clubs to stage their final home game.

He said: “Crest would have loved to have completed it sooner, as we would have. But, in terms of the ground, that is an issue that takes time to resolve.

“There was no way we can finish our season at Claro Road. We are obliged to under the terms of our contract that in practical completion of Rudding Park, that is when we have to locate Claro Road.”

A Crest Nicholson spokesman said: “We continue to work closely with Harrogate Rugby Club. Representatives from Crest Nicholson met with the Club last week to finalise details for delivery of the new grounds as well as the clubhouse.

“The arrangement for facilities to play the remainder of the season falls within the remit of the management team for the Rugby Club.”