Its 50 years on from the date (season 52/53) that Castleford RUFC moved into Methley. After having looked at pitches/grounds at Hightown, Whitwood, Lock Lane and two sites at Methley previously. The club finally made a move to secure the grounds at Pinfold Lane for a permanent base.
Lew Pritchard a then teacher at Mickletown School and Hon Sec at Castleford RUFC was the architect in this move but all the committee of that time (which included Methleyites Ken Cookman, Will Illingworth and Les Tate) were in agreement.
Assistance with finance was made through Harry Harrison a local Estate Agent and an approach was made to the Min. of Works to purchase the ‘hutments’ (former prisoner of war buildings).
Work commenced in the late summer of 1952 to convert those old buildings into changing rooms/showers.
The section which converted into a bar with lounge and kitchen benefited with the assistance of locals for work and decorations. The most appreciated feature of the lounge was a large brick built coal fireplace with champagne and brandy bottles laid into the brickwork. You could tell the visiting players from non coal mining areas – they all made a dash for the fire and you couldn’t shift them away after the match.
There were no floodlights in the 1960’s at Pinfold Lane (The temporary lighting erected on scaffold poles had been dismantled because they said the sparking from the cabling was dangerous – huh).
Mid-winter training was restricted to a variation of running circuits of the village in the dark.
I was never a good jogger and soon lost yards and interest on the runs, usually trailing in as a backmarker.
An experiment to improve my placing proved to be both unsuccessful and painful. I decided to take advantage of my knowledge of the local footpaths and after falling behind on the next training run I took a shortcut at Coney Moor farm, past the Low End Club with the intention of galloping out well in front of the pack at Green Lane and racing in to the changing rooms in first place.
All went well for the first 20 yards, then I found I had to drop my slow pace to allow for the rutted path and the pitch black vision, so I knew that this pace would not bring me out in front and I decided to cut across the fields.
Visibility was confused by being able to see the road lights and traffic 500 yards away and despite the darkness the land appeared flat. Well it was not as flat or as visible as I thought and I ended up in the hedge bottom a couple of times, the final indignity being when I went full bore into a drainage ditch. I could have broken a bone or even suffered more serious consequences and I was left to limp in with abrasions to skin and pride and covered in mud.
Never did achieve that objective of leading the field in from the village circuit training session.