ROSSGARTH Youth Football Club has come a long way in 50 years – from its cowshed beginnings to state-of-the-art 3G football pitches at Potterne Park.
The club has mirrored the growth of Verwood from a rural village to a thriving Dorset town.
In 1972, its founder, the late Reg Day wrote a brief history of the club in which he said: “Our first changing room was the cowshed which we used to swill out before a match and put bales of straw in for seats. But I’m afraid some of the town lads from Poole used to turn up their noses a bit at the healthy smell!”
Foundations for the club were laid in 1962 when Reg donated the family’s back garden, off Ringwood Road, to his sons James and Andy as a present.
With a second-hand kit donated by Ringwood Town, the local lads of Verwood started to play friendly matches.
On June 1, 1964, the first committee meeting of the Rossgarth Rangers (named after the Day family’s home) was held. The club’s first team was an under-16s side, with match subs of one shilling a game.
Rossgarth’s first game saw them slump to a 6-0 defeat against Lyt-chett RT. But it wasn’t long before they bagged their first win, a 4-2 win over Junior Leaders, with Brian Long scoring the team’s first goal in the fixture on September 26, 1964.
The club’s other grounds included the Recreation Ground in the centre of Verwood before their move to Potterne Park in the mid-eighties.
Reg Day’s contribution to Rossgarth was immense, with 20 years service as club secretary before he retired at the age of 71.
The club has grown consider- ably, much like Verwood which was once hailed as the quickest-growing town in Europe.
Rossgarth now fields 22 teams with more than 350 youngsters in its ranks. To mark its 50th anniversary, the club is planning a celebration of half a century of youth football in the town.
The club hopes to attract as many past and present managers, committee members and players to its anniversary evening at the Verwood Hub on May 10.
The organisers would like anyone with material relating to Rossgarth history to contact Steve Course on 07746 751965.