A Brief History Article by R D Pemberton...
Looking back at the history of Bolton R.U.F.C it could be covered by the old saying 'All life is there' as the efforts of a dedicated band of enthusiasts fought to give the game of Rugby to a sometimes unwilling Bolton.
In the very early years, between the wars, Bolton had a club that boasted International players, and even the former Bolton MP Arthur Holt played for them, but World War Two finally saw the demise of the game in Bolton. The start of the modern era was due to the enterprise of some former pupils of Hayward School, who, as ex-scouts, formed a team to play on Saturdays, calling themselves 'Old Haywardians'. This was now the late 60s, with one team, against usually lower sides of any club that would play them, and using the Morris Dancers pub as a home. The lack of a player base brought lots of people with a wide variety of skills and abilities to the fledgling club, and results, while not spectacular were encouraging. The School colours were used as the basis of the maroon and white hooped shirts, and the start of a second team brought the need for the more normal club type structure, with fund raising, and social activities. A brief look at the Accounts of 1969 indicated that the club had £36 and 19 shillings in the Bank.
The move to the Bolton Wyresdale sports club in 1971 was another sound venture for the growing club, taking it to shared premises, with a well used bar, and close to the council rented pitches at New House Farm. Here under the leadership of the uncompromising, but skilful Pat Murphy the club began to flourish, with sometimes 4 sides being put out, and good results, against a steadily improving fixture list. Many of the present day club stalwarts joined at this time, giving another impetus to rugby in Bolton. The move away from Bolton Wyresdale was not taken lightly. Bolton Council were helpful in indicating a possible new site for a ground, coupled with the 'interesting' state of the New House Farm pitches, caused lots of debate. None of the people who gathered upstairs at the Queen Anne at Little Lever in June 1974 will forget the almost Churchillian remarks of Chairman Pete Kenyon urging the club forward, to its own facilities. The unanimous decision to form Bolton R.U.F.C. did not get progress in motion immediately, but the club set about doing the spade-work of planning, fund raising, and most of all playing rugby.
The move to the Volunteer at Darcy Lever was another base to build from. The state of the pitches at Newhouse were never far away in conversation, as the club fought their way into the fixture lists of existing clubs, with open exciting rugby, hard but fair, and a good after match atmosphere. By the early 80s the new ground site at Avenue St was coming into consideration, and Chairman Dave Pepper led the small group that drew up the plans, and looked at the costs for the actual clubhouse. Slowly the various elements came together. The negotiation with the breweries, the endless 'book sales', sponsored events and discos eventually just about covered the initial cost, and building started on the 5th May 1988. Trouble with the pitches caused much heartache early on, but as the improvements to the ground and enlargement ten years on to the clubhouse have kept the club up to standard.
Now with the advent of the Lottery, a further extension with more changing rooms is near fruition the prospects are getting better for Bolton.