Mansfield - Rufford Colliery Ground
Rainworth : NG21 0JR
Mansfield - Rufford Colliery Ground : Map credit National Library of Scotland Mansfield - Rufford Colliery Ground : Image credit Derby Telegraph Rufford Colliery was opened in 1911 by the successful Bolsover Colliery Company and a model village for colliery workers was constructed at Rainworth later in the decade. In addition to the 128 cottage style houses, there was a miners welfare building, school, church, drill hall, cinema and a sports ground. The sports ground housed football and cricket pitches, a running track and a 3½ laps to the mile asphalt cycle track.

The sports ground was completed in 1924 and the Mansfield Reporter of 22nd August 1924 reported that "Cyclists are already taking advantage of the new track and training on it nightly." The new ground was used for the Rainworth Horticultural Society sports in 1924, but no cycle races were included. The first use of the track for cycle races was the following year, when there was a very large entry of over 700 competitors for the July 11th 1925 Horticultural Society sports. The bicycle races were ¼, ½ and 1 mile, a novice's race and a five miles scratch race, the Spooner brothers of Rotherham between them won three cycle events. The track was described by the Derbyshire Times as a well banked asphalt track.

At the Rufford Colliery Sports on May 28th 1927, the Wyld brothers** had a good day, with Harry winning the five miles scratch race from Lew and Harry also taking third place in half mile scratch. The four Wyld brothers also won the two miles pursuit race. Mansfield's Victoria and Ashfield cycling clubs promoted an inter-club evening meeting on August 31st 1927.

Rufford Colliery Cycling Club sports became an established annual attraction and the meeting was often dominated by the Wyld brothers and Albert Theaker. The attendance was usually around 1,000, but the Colliery sports were less popular by the end of the 1930s.

The Rufford Colliery CC sports returned after the war on Tuesday 28th August 1945, the meeting included the Club two laps championship, a five laps scratch race and a two miles team pursuit. The Horticultural Society sports also returned after the war, on August 24th 1946 and the meeting was also organised by Rufford Colliery CC.

There were cycle race meetings in the late 1940s including the Broad Oak Road Club open meeting on Easter Monday 1948. The Rufford Colliery CC sports were held in 1949 and were watched by a good crowd of 1,500 spectators. The top event was the five miles scratch race which was won by A Newberry from Swadlingcote, who was a former British National five miles grass track champion. This was probably the last time that cycle races were held at Rainworth.

The track continued to be used for athletics and the stadium was popular for football. The ground is still in use and is the home of Rufford Miners Welfare FC.

** The four Wyld brothers Harry, Ralph, Percy and Lew were all international cyclists, the brothers won the National Team Pursuit championship three times and Harry won bronze medals in the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games.

Mansfield - Rufford Colliery Ground : Image credit Nottingham County Council
Refs     : [586] [p]
Photos : Derby Telegraph, Nottingham County Council
Maps    : National Library of Scotland