Hull Kingston Rovers Rugby Stadium, Poorhouse Lane, Preston Road, Hull, Humberside.
LOCATED————————————-Three miles east of Hull city centre just of Preston Road.
ORIGINAL SITE——————————Shakespeare Hall High School Playground.
DATE VENUE OPENED——————–September 24th 1989 for Rugby League.
Meaning other sports may have taken place prior to the arrival of Greyhound Racing.
FIRST MEETING—————————–November 11th 1989.
Greyhound Racing only.
LICENSED OR INDEPENDENT———-NGRC.
All venues covered would have to be licensed with the government, licensed suggested in this section would refer to tracks operating under NGRC Rules.
-INSIDE OR OUTSIDE HARE TYPE—–Outside
Please note that the Electric Hare suggested is only a guidance, and would have been in operation for a certain amount of time at this venue. Although it is not necessarily guaranteed that it was operational all the time, as other types of lure may have been used and updated as time progressed.
DISTANCES———————————–240, 460 and 490 metres.
Please note that most racing venues distances had become varied throughout the years, the ones given above were at once point set and offers only a guidance to the track size.
Please note that alterations at most racing venues throughout its existence would see that the circumference of the track would vary, the one shown above offers only a guidance to the track size.
BIG RACE NAMES—————————-Hull Greyhound Derby usually staged in July.
STADIUM SHARED WITH——————Rugby League and Speedway.
LAST MEETING——————————-Autumn 2003.
Greyhound Racing only.
STADIUM CLOSURE DATE—————-N/A
Meaning other sports may have taken place after Greyhound Racing had ceased.
BUILT ON SITE——————————–Stadium still home to Hull Kingston Rovers Rugby League Club.
In some cases, structure’s that originally covered the venue after the stadium had been demolished, may have been themselves demolished too, so the one described is more likely to be the one which now presently covers the site.
EVIDENCE LEFT TODAY———————The Kennel block remains but today are used for other purposes.
The New Craven Park Stadium in Hull, developed due to the demise of the old Craven Park a sports stadium which once staged Greyhound Racing and Rugby League. The old venue had been the home to Hull Kingston Rovers Rugby League Club and was situated north east of the city on Holderness Road. Prior to the sale of the old craven park, the rugby club had been operating at a financial loss, and the out of date stadium was very much in need of a refurbishment. But it was the developers that saved both sports with a four million pound bid for the stadium being accepted, with plans of a new three million pound stadium on the horizon, and enough money to clear the rugby clubs debts.
The new stadium would continue to host Rugby League matches, and also Greyhound Racing, with the greyhound company acting as tenants to the rugby club as they did at the old venue. The new stadium began to develop on the site of the old Shakespeare High School playground, a disused section of land set back just off Preston Road, roughly three miles east of Hull city centre.
Foundations began to be laid during 1988 and by the Summer of 1989 The New Craven Park was ready to stage sporting events. The stadium consisted of a two-tiered main stand, with corporation boxes separating an upper section of seating from a lower level of terracing that would continue all the way around the greyhound track. Opposite the main stand was a covered section of terracing, with a further curved section of terracing at each end which remained uncovered, this contributing to the grounds crowd capacity of 8,500. The infield of the greyhound track had left just enough space to lay a rugby pitch, and at the rear of each curved terracing was a scoreboard for the rugby, and a results board for the dogs behind the other.
The greyhound track consisted of an all silicon sanded surface, with kennels constructed on the stadiums premises to house 72 greyhounds. The old Craven Park had closed during April 1989, yet by the 24th of September 1989, Hull Kingston Rovers was ready to stage their first league fixture against Trafford Borough. It would take almost another seven weeks before the greyhounds got their opportunity, with their opening meeting coming on the 11th of November. Events were staged under NGRC rules, and ran six dog races over distances of 460 and 490 metres, with the greyhounds chasing an outside electric hare.
In 1995 Speedway Racing was introduced, with Hull Vikings becoming tenants, their existence lasted for a decade before the club folded due to financial reasons. Disappointingly, the greyhound company found little financial benefit for staging their sport at The New Craven Park, with the stadiums owners, the rugby club, reaping the rewards from restaurant and bar takings.
By May 2003 more problems had arose, with the persistent failure of the hare motor began to hinder race meetings, which left the company facing a hefty repair bill. They began to look for other options, and it was during this period that another rugby league club, Hull FC, was on the verge of moving out of their old ground into the nearby New Community Stadium, a purpose built football/rugby stadium located in the western half of the city. The company approached the council regarding a move to the vacated Boulevard Stadium, and successfully struck a deal for a 25 year lease.
By the Autumn of 2003 Greyhound Racing had ceased, with the greyhound company transferring all equipment to its new destination. As preparations began to take place at the new venue, all of the major race events planned at The New Craven Park, were temporally transferred to the Stainforth Greyhound Stadium, roughly forty miles away.
The New Craven Park Stadium continued to host rugby league and during 2007 an investment of £200,000 had seen the venue totally revamped. Changes had seen the playing surface widened, this at the expense of the greyhound tracks removal, along with a new club shop and a ticket office, leaving The New Craven Park solely operating as a rugby league venue only.
Today’s New Craven Park leaves little to remind us that it once hosted Greyhound Racing, the only factors are a curved terracing behind one of the goalposts, and the tracks kennels, which are now used for other purposes.