Crown Flatt

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Tetley's Stadium
Tetley stadium.jpg
The exterior of the stadium grandstands
Full name Crown Flatt
Location Dewsbury, Kirklees
Coordinates 53°41′59″N 1°36′9″W / 53.69972°N 1.60250°W / 53.69972; -1.60250Coordinates: 53°41′59″N 1°36′9″W / 53.69972°N 1.60250°W / 53.69972; -1.60250
Capacity 5,100
Construction
Built 1994
Opened 1994
Tenants
Dewsbury Rams (1994-)

Crown Flatt, known as the Tetley's Stadium for sponsorship purposes, is a rugby league stadium in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, England. It is the home of Dewsbury rugby league club. It occupies the site of Shaw Cross Colliery, which closed in August 1968.

Crown Flatt was also the name of a stadium used by Dewsbury until 13 September 1988, when it was deliberately burnt down.

Stadium[edit]

Seating stand at the stadium

The stadium has two covered stands, one seated and one standing with an approximate capacity of 5,100 including 900 seats and disabled facilities. As part of the Rams' Community Development Programme, the stadium also hosts matches for a number of other organisations. This ranges from local schools' matches, representative amateur and student rugby league games to American football matches and fun days.

There are plans to develop the complex over the next couple of years as the club aims to bring the ground up to Super League standards.

History[edit]

Original stadium[edit]

On 19 January 1876, Mr A. Fearnsides - a Savile estate tenant - had agreed to sub-let the field to Dewsbury Athletic and Football Club for an initial payment of £20 per year.

The earliest surviving reference to the Crown Flatt enclosure is the one goal to nil defeat by Leeds Caledonians on 22 January 1876.

In season 1879/80 the ground acquired its first permanent structure - a wooden terrace occupying the top side of the estate. At around the same time, and at a cost of £250, the field acquired a perimeter wall, turnstiles, viewing platforms and a refreshment tent.

Improved changing facilities appeared during the 1884/85 campaign. "Noah’s Ark" - a 3,500 seater grandstand purchased from the Royal Agricultural Show at Preston for £170 was erected along the southern touchline in time for the visit of Morley on 26 September 1885. In 1890, Crown Flatt hosted its very first international rugby union match when it was used as England's first venue after a two-year absence from the Home Nations Championship due to the RFU's refusal to join the International Rugby Board. The game is notable as it was the first time England had lost to Wales, with the only try scored by a Dewsbury player, Wales's 'Buller' Stadden.[1]

In November 1897, the committee of Dewsbury and Savile Football and Athletic Club decided to abandon rugby union in favour of soccer and in mid-1898, to vacate Crown Flatt.

In September 1898 after rejecting an approach from the new Northern Union tenants, the Dewsbury and Savile committee received notice to remove their property from the ground before the end of the month. By 17 September both the top stand and "Noah’s Ark" opposite had been taken down, their rotten remains were sold to the local Poor Law Union for use as firewood.

In the summer of 1936, Crown Flatt became the home of Dewsbury Royals Professional Baseball Club. However, crowds were disappointing, and without the financial backing, which other clubs received, Dewsbury could not attract quality foreign players and struggled to compete with the bigger clubs. The club disappeared after the 1936 season.[2]

Crown Flatt was burnt down in an act of arson on 13 September 1988. It was replaced with a modern housing estate. The erection of the new stadium was overseen by the then present committee with the first part of the work done by the then president David T Farrow JP who died in 1991, before he could see the new stadium built.

New stadium[edit]

Dewsbury played their first home game at the new Crown Flatt stadium (often erroneously called New Crown Flatt) on 6 September 1994 in front of a full house against Barrow, a match they won 82-6.

The ground staged its final first class fixture on 14 April 1991 when Barrow were held to a 19-19 draw. Dewsbury full-back Nathan Graham, with a late conversion, registered the last senior points. The area is now covered by a housing estate, the streets of which are named after Dewsbury players.

The Rams suffix was adopted by the club in 1996 as part of rugby league's transition from a winter to a summer schedule. Crown Flatt stadium was renamed Ram Stadium in 1998.

In 2005, the stadium was again renamed Tetley's Stadium for sponsorship purposes.

The car parks to the south of the stadium hold one of the biggest car boot sales in the region, raising much needed revenue for the Community Trust run by the club.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Godwin, Terry; The International Rugby Championship 1883-1983 (1984) pg24 ISBN 0-00-218060-X
  2. ^ Professional Baseball in Dewsbury