RUGBY supporters whose clubhouse was gutted in an arson attack have come up with a brilliant solution to the problem of where to hold pre-match hospitality.  

Northwich Rugby Club’s historic clubhouse at Moss Farm Leisure Complex was deliberately torched by vandals in October last year, and the club has been losing out on vital bar and food revenue, as well as income from hosting events.

The clubhouse was also a community resource, hosting groups including a local Down’s Syndrome film club and an early years music and sensory play group, as well as private functions like birthday parties and wedding anniversaries.

Northwich Guardian: Much of the bar area was gutted by fire on October 26 (Rob Goulding)Much of the bar area was gutted by fire on October 26 (Rob Goulding) (Image: Rob Goulding)

Now the club’s committee has hit on the brilliant idea of converting the club’s two squash courts into a bar room and kitchen, meaning they can start selling food and alcohol again before matches, which is vital for keeping the club afloat financially.  

The club's press and programmes officer, Chris Hart, said: “A lot of members have shown total commitment to transforming the courts.

“It took us just two weeks to sort out, which shows we’ve got the manpower, the resources, the will and determination to move beyond what’s happened.

“We were very lucky to have Northwich Cricket Club invite us to use their facilities. We are very grateful, but at the end of the day, we need the bar revenue ourselves.

“With the squash court bar now up and running, we can host home games with hospitality and start to benefit from a vital source of income.”

Northwich Guardian: The clubhouse will take approximately six months to rebuild (Rob Goulding)The clubhouse will take approximately six months to rebuild (Rob Goulding) (Image: Rob Goulding)

In the longer term, the club intends to rebuild the clubhouse using what happened as a means of reconnecting with the local community. 

Work on the building is due to start this April, with an aim to complete by the end of September. 

Barry James, a committed spectator who played for the club between 1975 and 1999, said: “What happened is terrible. It spoiled so much enjoyment for so many people - not just our players and spectators, but all the other clubs who use our facilities.

“The squash courts bar is definitely better than nothing.

“We’re grateful for the cricket club’s support in the short term, but we do like our own bar and our own space. The other thing is, we need the income as well."

Northwich Guardian: The club's ground is part of the Moss Farm Leisure Complex (Rob Goulding)The club's ground is part of the Moss Farm Leisure Complex (Rob Goulding) (Image: Rob Goulding)

Former player, John Blower, said: “It’s a way of generating money for us, which is what we need given we’ve lost so much. Anything is better than nothing."