The first 70 years
Driffield Rugby Union Football Club was formed in 1926 and until the 1950s played its matches on a field off St Johns Road, Driffield. In these early years the clubhouse was based at the Keys Hotel where the players’ baths were in beer barrels sawn in half! Following WWII the club played at four different grounds before finally coming to an agreement with the Driffield Show Society to use their newly-acquired showground. The changing facilities were at the nearby aerodrome.
The changing accommodation on the aerodrome became unavailable for the season 1958/59. Various alternatives were suggested such as approaching the brewery to see if showers could be installed behind the Blue Bell and the possibility of building a clubhouse on the show field. Before either of these ideas could be explored further the old RAF Cinema and RC Chapel at Kelleythorpe came up for sale. In September 1958 it was bought by the club for £1,000. Baths were installed by Jack Woodmansey and the hard work of local tradesmen Gordon Leason and TA Naylor, under Alan Bradshaw’s supervision, ensured that the club was soon useable.
The clubhouse was officially opened on 21st April 1960 by Jack Warrington, the then Yorkshire RFU President. In 1964 the Club held its first Annual Dinner, a tradition which is continued until today, proving a popular event in the club calendar. The Club thrived over the next 30 years; producing many fine players and teams. The clubhouse at Driffield, complete with roaring open fire and busy bar, became a focal point for the local community and renowned in rugby circles for its welcoming, convivial atmosphere.
In 1971 the new 3rd team was named the Centenarians, to commemorate 100 years of the RFU, and the subsequent 4th team became the Extra Centenarians.
The New Clubhouse
In the autumn of 1996 an application was made to Sport England for lottery funding to help build a new clubhouse. After several attempts, numerous applications and a great deal of hard work by John Harrison and others the club was granted a conditional award in March 2000. Work started on the new club house in the summer of 2001.
Having cost over £1 million (including fixtures and fittings) the new clubhouse was ready for use in January 2002, and officially opened in May 2002 by Tosh Askew, club member and England U19 Coach.
On the field — the last 40 years
1971 Driffield Win the Yorkshire Shield
On the 20th February 1971 Driffield play York in the Yorkshire Shield Final at Selby. Driffield triumph 8-0 under the captaincy of David Hall.
Driffield Placed in Yorkshire League 1
In the 1987/88 season after years of controversy and debate in clubs of all shapes and sizes, leagues finally start. Driffield are placed in Yorkshire League 1.
1991 Driffield Win the Yorkshire Shield for the second time
Driffield win the Yorkshire Shield under the captaincy of Stuart Cooper beating Bradford Salem 9-0.
1992 Promotion to North East 2
In the 1991/92 season, again under the captaincy of Stuart Cooper and with Ross Weekes as the Club President, the Woldsmen finally and in no uncertain terms, gain promotion to North East 2 after 5 years in Yorkshire League 1, winning all 10 games.
1993 Promotion to North East 1
Still under the captaincy of Stuart Cooper the club gains promotion again in the 1992/93 season from North East 2 to North East 1
1996 Promotion to North 2
Having missed out narrowly two seasons earlier Driffield gain promotion at the end of the 1995/96 season. Simon Craggs captains the team throughout and promotion is sealed with a dramatic 6-6 draw with Old Brods at Kelleythorpe.
1999 Promotion to North 1
Under the captaincy of Richard Mitchell Williams in 1998/99 the Woldsmen claim promotion in the most dramatic fashion. Needing to score 60+ points in their final game of the season to secure second place and with it promotion Driffield perform memorably to beat Chester 64-7 at home.
1999 – 2004 North 1
Driffield play five seasons in North 1 with a highest-ever league position of third place in the 2000/01 season.
2004 – 2009 North East 2
Relegation in 2004 confines Driffield to a five-season spell in North East 2. A period of consolidation and a determination to maintain amateur status sees two respectable third place finishes and a fourth and fifth place.
2009 – 2011
Major league restructure from National League 1 downwards places Driffield in the newly formed North East 1. Even though regarded initially as a contender for promotion the team struggles to perform. After two disappointing seasons Driffield is relegated to Yorkshire Division One.
2011 – Yorkshire Division One
Optimism is high to achieve promotion back to North East 1