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Official Review by Rob Campion, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
The original Dewsbury rugby club founded in 1875 operated until 1888 when a merger with Savile Cricket Club and United Clerks Cricket Club formed Dewsbury & Savile Cricket and Football Club. They became founder members of the Yorkshire Senior Competition in 1892, and in 1895 became the only member not to resign from the Rugby Football Union (RFU). The meeting in which this unpopular decision took place occurred at the George Hotel in Huddersfield and led to the club electing to abandon the rugby union side and concentrate on association football instead at the end of 1897.
The new club was formed in April 1898, and they were elected to the Northern Union, now Rugby Football League. Honours and success have been thin on the ground with one league championship to their name (1972/73) and two Challenge Cups (1911/12 and 1942/43). Since the formation of Super League and a switch to a summer sport, Dewsbury have competed in either the sports 2nd or 3rd tiers, and for the 2016 season are competing in level 2, the Championship.
Tetley’s Stadium, which the club call home, was built on the site of the former Shaw Cross Colliery in 1994 and has a current capacity of 5,100. It is a three sided ground; the North Stand is all seated, while the South and East stands are standing, with the former being covered. Access to the East Stand is through the South Stand turnstiles. There is no access between the seated and standing areas. The stadium was built to replace their original home, Crown Flatt which burned down in an arson attack on September 13, 1988.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
For the crowds Dewsbury attract, their offerings are more than adequate. Firstly there are two converted trailers, one located at each end of the ground that serve the usual types of hot food you find around the country. Drinks (hot and cold), chocolate bars, candy floss and kids sweets are available.
An example of some of the prices include cheeseburger (£3), jumbo hot dog (£3), tea and coffee (£1.50), bottled soft drinks (£1.50) and candy floss (£2).
The queues are not large at any point, even during the half time interval and are even open at the end of the game.
For anyone wanting alcohol there are bars beneath the South and North stands. Also there are a couple of huts in each section that serve bottled cider.
The overall atmosphere is nothing special, though this is due to the low number of people attending games, which could be a factor because of the team being stuck in mid-table. Relegation and promotion appear unlikely in the 2016 season. There isn't any specific singing or chanting, though there are a bit of light hearted exchanges with some of the visiting supporters.
With the ground being located on the edge of the town, there is nothing in the immediate area to see and do beforehand. The town itself saw growth in the 19th century due to the mills that sprung up in the area. After a period of decline, there is some regeneration going on. This includes converting former mills into flats and improving the town centre. There isn't much on offer in the town centre, though the minster is impressive looking.
All of the fans who attend the games are regulars, and they use the games as a social outing catching up with friends, etc. There is a mix of age ranges and sexes in attendance, though the middle aged male is, like all sport, the dominant factor in terms of numbers. Both sets of supporters mix freely before, during, and after the game. No bad language is generally heard in and around the ground, and there is no segregation in place.
In a nutshell access is very good, as the ground is located on the eastern edge of town and is very easy to get to, especially if coming by car. Owl Lane is a short drive from junction 40 of the M1 motorway that runs north to south between London and Leeds, while the M62 motorway that runs across northern England is no more than 15 minutes away. There is plenty of car parking on site in relation to the crowds Dewsbury attract, and there is a £3 charge.
For anyone using public transport, Dewsbury railway station is between a 35-40 minute walk. The station has excellent service to and from Leeds on Sundays when the Rams play their home games. For anyone not fancying the walk, Arriva (numbers 202 and 203) has a twice hourly service from the bus station. The station in neighbouring Batley is actually nearer to the ground, but has a much more limited service.
There are no issues with the pricing for a visit here, the prices are on par with the other teams in the division. There are two pricing categories for each section of the ground. For the North stand (seating) a full paying adult will cost £17, with a £5 reduction for over 65's, students, and armed forces personnel. If opting to stand on the South stand terrace then an adult admission is £15 and £11 for the concessions previously mentioned.
Disabled supporters can gain entry at the concession rates and one carer is allowed free of charge. With reasonable priced concessions and parking, a trip to Dewsbury is well worth the overall cost.
You get nothing fancy when attending a rugby league game in the second or third levels in England.
A programme is issued for every home game and costs £2.50, though it is overpriced (£1.50 would be about right). There is also a small club shop located outside of the North stand and it sells a small range of clothing and souvenirs. Examples being replica shirts (£45), training vests (£25) and pin badges (£1).
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