A new clubhouse was built in 1981 and a new pitch opened in 1989. Two more pitches, a training area and floodlights were added in the late 1990s, allowing the club to turn the original pitches over to pasture on what is now known as old Rifle Park.
More recently the club invested in a clubhouse extension, adding the club shop, office, new and enhanced changing facilities, and a gym. And in 2008 the clubhouse underwent a significant refurbishment to improve the bar and function room areas.
In a joint junior and senior club initiative, Banbridge RFC have announced the latest planned development of their facilities at Rifle Park.
The rugby pitch at the entrance to the club grounds is now well over 20-years-old and has in recent times become prone to flooding. As a result mini, youth and senior matches have all too often had to be postponed.
The 'Pitch-for-All' project plans to alleviate this issue with a major upgrade and realignment of the playing area to cope with the demands of a thriving rugby club.
This scheme will provide a brand new modern playing surface, designed to deal with the burden of our ever changing weather - a pitch for all season round.
During the last two summer breaks, Banbridge RFC has spent in excess of £30,000 in maintaining the other two other pitches, and the training area at Rifle Park.
The improved sports field will reduce the demands on the club's other pitches and training areas and ensure that they can continue to provide facilities for the youngest players in mini section up to the oldest in their senior club throughout the season - a pitch for all ages and teams.
Work will encompass the construction of new sand-dressed pitch to full IRB dimensions, including:
- Raising of low areas of pitch to new profiles
- Installation of secondary stone drains
- Re-grading of the playing surface
- 30mm sand dressing
- Sowing out
- One years grown in maintenance and sand grooving
This project will not only provide a brand new playing surface, but the realignment of the playing area will enable the club to provide additional parking in a newly resurfaced area.
The recent success of BRFC in both senior and youth rugby has increased the numbers of young players participating in rugby, and a significant increase in supporters coming to Banbridge from all over Ireland to watch both senior and junior rugby fixtures.
This increase has led to traffic congestion in the vicinity of Ardery's Lane on matchdays, with limited car parking currently available. The additional car parking will assist in addressing this issue and will include additional disabled parking.
The project will be conducted in two phases, with the first phase addressing the realignment and upgrade of the pitch, and phase two providing additional parking spaces following the completion of phase one. All works will be subject to obtaining the necessary finance.
The committees of the senior and junior club remain committed to providing some of the best grass rugby playing surfaces in Ireland.
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