Old Craven Park

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Old Craven Park
Location Holderness Road, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire
Opened 1922
Closed 1989

Old Craven Park was a rugby league and greyhound racing stadium in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England.

Rugby league[edit]

Hull Kingston Rovers moved from Craven Street in East Hull to a new ground called Craven Park in 1922. The club had purchased a site behind the tram and bus depot on the eastern end of Holderness Road by Aberdeen Street[1] at a cost of £18,281 and it hosted its first game on 2 September 1922.

The ground staged an Ashes series test in 1929 with Australia defeating Great Britain 31–8 in front of 20,000 fans.

In the early 1970s Hull Kingston Rovers purchased a site at Winchester Avenue with the aim of building a new stadium there, these plans never came to fruition and the site was later sold to a private developer. The profit made from this land was used to buy back Craven Park with greyhound racing continuing as a subsidiary concern.[2]

Greyhound racing[edit]

Opening[edit]

A company called Entertainments Hull Ltd brought greyhound racing to the stadium to rival the operation at the Boulevard Stadium and the first meeting took place on 5 May 1928,[3] the lease was soon secured by the Associated Greyhound Company who also had control of Towneley Stadium in Burnley and Darnall Stadium in Sheffield but the company went bankrupt and the greyhound operation suffered difficult times with a depression on the horizon.

New owners[edit]

With the greyhound racing boom underway a new company called Hull (Craven Park) Stadium Ltd bought the stadium from Hull Kingston Rovers in 1938, the rugby team secured a 21-year lease in the £10,750 sale. The track raced under National Greyhound Racing Club (NGRC) rules and the circuit was described as a handy sized track with a circumference of 407 yards with good length straights and with starting boxed that are set back to take full advantage of the length of the straight. Banking was 1 in 12 and an 'Inside Sumner' hare was used. Distances of 292, 496 & 698 yards made up the races and the stadium kennels charged owners one guinea per week, an agreement that included veterinary attention.[4]

Facilities included three covered enclosures; the large home straight enclosure offered two clubs, the Silver Ring Club and the Stadium Club. The Supporters Club was to be found within the back straight covered stand whilst the totalisator and racing office was situated between the third and fourth bends. Distances changed to 500 and 700 yards by 1946.[5]

History[edit]

Business exceeded the much larger Boulevard venue and Craven Park managed to pass the £1 million mark in 1946 in regards to tote turnover.[6]

The stadium opened a restaurant and four buffet bars for the public with racing held on Thursday and Saturday nights during the 1950s and 1960s and in 1975 the stadium was bought back by Hull Kingston Rovers,[7] as the 1970s progressed Mr V Holland was brought in as the new Racing Manager and Roy Thickett became replacing the retiring Arthur Rising. Popular events at the track included the Hair Belle Trophy, Art Wells Stakes, Charles Key Memorial Stakes and the Jack Lawlor Trophy, the track trainers were Jack King and Sylvia Cooke and they were joined by Ray Jones and John Tollafield.[8]

Closure[edit]

Following the Bradford City stadium fire, capacity was restricted and costs of safety work spiraled, with the club in debt the ground was sold to developers and the final rugby league game was played there on 9 April 1989. John Kennedy the new General Manager of the greyhounds was tasked with securing the future of the greyhound operation which moved two miles away to New Craven Park.

The ground was demolished and a supermarket was built on the land originally called Leo's then Co-op, it is now occupied by Morrisons.

Rugby League Test Matches[edit]

The list of international rugby league matches played at Craven Park is:[9]

Game# Date Result Attendance Notes
1 5 October 1929 Australia  def. England England 31–8 20,000 1929–30 Ashes series
2 1 February 1936 Wales  def.  England 17–14 20,000 1936–37 European Rugby League Championship
3 3 November 1951 Other Nationalities def.  France 17–14 18,000 1951–52 European Rugby League Championship

Rugby League Tour Matches[edit]

Craven Park also saw the Hull Kingston Rovers, the county team Yorkshire and the Great Britain Under-24 side play host to international touring teams from Australia (once playing as Australasia) and New Zealand from 1926–1986.

game Date Result Attendance Notes
1 16 October 1926 New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 15–13 12,999 1926–27 New Zealand Kiwis tour
2 5 October 1929 Australian colours.svg Australasia def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 31–8 12,000 1929–30 Kangaroo Tour
3 2 September 1933 Australian colours.svg Australia def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 20–0 7,831 1933–34 Kangaroo Tour
4 18 October 1948 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers def. Australian colours.svg Australia 17–12 7,614 1948–49 Kangaroo Tour
5 15 November 1952 Australian colours.svg Australia def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 31–6 5,817 1952–53 Kangaroo Tour
6 18 September 1963 Yorkshire Yorkshire def. Australian colours.svg Australia 11–5 10,324 1963–64 Kangaroo Tour
7 7 October 1967 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers def. Australian colours.svg Australia 27–15 11,252 1967–68 Kangaroo Tour
8 7 November 1973 Australian colours.svg Australia def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 25–9 5,150 1973 Kangaroo Tour
9 4 October 1978 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Great Britain colours.svg Great Britain U/24 30–8 6,418 1978 Kangaroo Tour
10 22 October 1980 New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 20–12 9,516 1980 New Zealand Kiwis tour
11 10 October 1982 Australian colours.svg Australia def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 30–10 10,742 1982 Kangaroo Tour
12 16 October 1983 HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers def. Queensland colours.svg Queensland 8–6 6,383 1983 Queensland Maroons tour
13 15 October 1986 Australian colours.svg Australia def. HKRcolours.svg Hull Kingston Rovers 46–10 6,868 1986 Kangaroo Tour

References[edit]

  1. ^ "OS County Series Yorkshire 1910". old-maps.co.uk. 
  2. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 46–47. ISBN 07207-1106-1. 
  3. ^ Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. pp. 102–103. ISBN 0-948955-15-5. 
  4. ^ Tarter, P Howard (1949). Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd. p. 72. 
  5. ^ Tarter, P Howard (1949). Greyhound Racing Encyclopedia. Fleet Publishing Company Ltd. p. 72. 
  6. ^ Particulars of Licensed tracks, table 1 Licensed Dog Racecourses. Licensing Authorities. 1946. 
  7. ^ Genders, Roy (1981). The Encyclopedia of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. pp. 46–47. ISBN 07207-1106-1. 
  8. ^ Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. p. 30. ISBN 0-7207-1804-X. 
  9. ^ Old Craven Park at Rugby League Project

Coordinates: 53°45′46″N 0°17′33″W / 53.76278°N 0.29250°W / 53.76278; -0.29250