Welcome to the Oldham
Rugby League Heritage Trust
The Oldham Rugby League Heritage trust was formed by a group of Oldham Rugby League Club supporters who first came together in 1995 to discuss those players to be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.
At the time it was realised that that in and around the town there were a number of people who owned items such as representative caps, medals and other important items of memorabilia won by and presented to Oldham players and officials down the years, some of whom wished to donate those items to the ‘Hall of Fame’.
To protect the ownership of this collection and at the same time ensure that it was kept available for generations of Oldhamers to come, the trust was formed.
As a result of the trust’s endeavours the people of Oldham now have access to one of the finest collections of rugby club memorabilia and historical information in the world.
Since 1995 there has been much and varied activity including four books being published, exhibitions organised, Oldham rugby related items purchased at auction, paintings commissioned, commemorative blue plaques organised and installed and streets in the Watersheddings’ area of town named in honour of former club players and officials.
17th MAY 2013
DAVE PARKER - SURPRISE VISITOR TO HEMEL
A surprise visitor (albeit a welcome one) to Hemel Stags’ Pennine Way Sports Ground last Sunday (12th May 2013) was Oldham’s former Great Britain loose-forward Dave Parker. The Roughyeds were in town for a Championship One game against the Stags which they duly won 30-12.
Dave has lived locally to Hemel Hempstead for a number of years but was born in Barrow-in-Furness. The ball-playing forward signed for Oldham in 1960 on the recommendation of the then Oldham coach Gus Risman who had watched him playing for the Manchester RU club having captained the Lancashire County RU XV.
He played 198 first team matches for the Watersheddings side including the Challenge Cup semi-final against Hull KR at Leeds in 1964 when he suffered a facial injury and missed the ensuing two replays. Many supporters believe that it was this injury that cost Oldham their first ever Wembley appearance. When asked to cast his memory back to that match Dave said that because of the injury which drastically affected his vision he missed spotting his wingman steaming up on his flank with the line at his mercy and which he believes, should the pass have gone out, would have won Oldham the tie and removed the necessity for any replays.
The former personnel director of what was then Oldham’s biggest employers - Platt Bros - played twice for Great Britain, both matches in 1964 against the French as well as representing Lancashire at league.
Belying his years Dave, who played squash until a couple of years ago, and whilst heading for the clubhouse to renew acquaintances passed on his best wishes to all Oldham folk.
16th MAY 2013
Heading For The Line - A Fans Guide To Rugby League Grounds - New Book By Michael Miles
This fine book by Michael Miles includes details of every ground in the Rugby League including Whitebank covering how to get there, food availability, crowd capacity (given as 1,000 for Whitebank), admission prices and much more. Ray French writes a fascinating foreword including his amusing recollections surrounding Watersheddings!
Over the past few years, there have been many changes for rugby league supporters travelling to away matches and visiting new grounds. Some of the game’s historic venues, such as Knowsley Road, Wilderspool and The Willows, are no longer in use. Gleaming new stadiums have sprung up in their place. And some new clubs have joined the professional game. There are also new venues for international matches.
This book aims to provide information for supporters visiting new grounds and old favourites.
Information about the book:
ISBN: 9781903659670; Price: £7.95 (paperback); 120 pages, illustrated with photographs.
The book is available at a special offer price of £7.50 post free from London League Publications Ltd, PO Box 65784, London NW2 9NS (credit card orders via www.llpshop.co.uk), or can be ordered from any bookshop at £7.95.
p/p LLP PO Box 65784, London NW2 9NS
15th MAY 2013
Balls, Gloves and Glory - New Book By Eric Chisnall & Andrew Quirke
Recently publshed ‘Balls, Gloves and Glory’ is the biography of the four Chisnall brothers, three of whom (Eric, Dave and Les) lifted the Challenge Cup with St Helens, Warrington and Leigh while the fourth, Dave, became a successful boxer.
A family feat such as this is hardly likely to be repeated. The publshers were approached by ‘Genes Reunited’ (a genealogy website) who asked if they could make a short film about the brothers to highlight the siblings’ sporting excellence. The film featuring the surviving brothers, Eric and Les, is now complete and available to view on Youtube. The link for the video is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rOjdrKYIbGc
The video is a fascinating extra to the story, showing the Chisnall brothers’ rise to rugby league excellence from humble beginnings.
Availabilty - From good book shops, St Helens club store, online retailers and verticaleditions.com - priced just £11.99
10th April 2013
In full Bloem
Jamie Bloem – Rugby Footballer
By Andrew Hardcastle
From being a young South African rugby union player, Jamie Bloem developed into a star rugby league player. From 1992 to 2005 he played every position on the field in a career that took in Castleford, Oldham, Doncaster, Widnes and Huddersfield, but primarily Halifax. He later became a coach, commentator and Grade 1 referee.
He was never far from the headlines, be it for drug taking, an accusation of biting Lee Briers, charges of abusing referees, declining pay cuts, or even sometimes for scoring spectacular tries or kicking touchline goals.
In this authorised biography, he lifts the lid on everything that has happened to him, giving a frank account of when he was in the wrong and when he was not.
Andrew Hardcastle has had a lifelong association with Halifax RLFC, where he is club historian and timekeeper. He has written widely about the game.
AVAILABLE TO ORDER FROM ALL GOOD BOOK SHOPS or order on line at www.llpshop.co.uk
The trust has a new dedicated email address for any future enquires or other help you may need. Please contact us on email@example.com
Oldham won the bragging rights for the next twelve months with a hard fought 22-20 victory over Rochdale at Spotland.
Jamie Dallimore was presented with the Heritage Trust Trophy by Michael Turner for his sparking all round display
5th Feb 2013 - Gordon Pollard - RIP
We have just heard the sad news that Gordon Pollard has died at the age of 58. He lived in Weymouth, Dorset.
Signed as a full back from St. Joseph ARLFC, Huddersfield (Bob Irvings' amateur club) he made his first team debut off the bench during the 76/77 season after moving into the back three of the pack. Played 23 first team matches including six as sub. When called upon was a useful goal kicker. His last first team appearance was during the 81/82 season.
Team mates from his debut season include Martin Murphy, Mike Elliott, Fred Hall, Tony Wainwright, Steve Herbert, Kevin Taylor, Bob Kear, Ray Hicks, Geoff Munro, John Blair, Kevin Flanagan & Eddie Barton.
The funeral is at 2-30pm on Monday 11th of February at Weymouth Crematorium, Tel: 01305 786984 and the funeral directors are Cotton & Son, Weymouth Tel: 01305 767676
3rd Feb 2013 - Frank Stirrup - RIP
FRANK Stirrup remembered as one of Oldham Rugby League Club's best ever players, has died in a Leigh care-home, at the age of 88.
A member of the Oldham RL Heritage Trust's Hall of Fame, the slight, multi-talented Stirrup played a huge part in laying down the foundations for the success of the great Watersheddings side of the mid and late 1950’s.
It was often said of Stirrup, a halfback ofsublime skill, that he could make a rugby ball “talk" such was his dexterity and speed of thought with ball in hand.
He played in 224 senior games for Oldham between 1951 and 1960, a period in which the club appeared in two Championship finals at Maine Road and Odsal; won the Lancashire Cup three years in a row; and built a reputation as one of the most entertaining teams ever.
In 1952 Stirrup led out the Roughyeds' to face Clive Churchill’s' Australian tourists in front of a Watersheddings' crowd of 19,620. The match ended in a 7-7 draw a more than creditable performance considering the Aussies played 22 matches against club opposition losing only to St. Helens.
There can be no finer tribute to Stirrup than that penned by Michael Turner in his book 'Oldham RLFC, The Complete History’ published in 1997.
He wrote: "In his first match for Oldham Frank played at scrum-half, but whether it be at the base of the scrum, stand-off , wing or fullback, Frank would always give 100 per cent effort.
"He could play scrum-half to Daley, thenstand-off to Pitchford, then deputise at full-back for Ganley , embracing each role with enthusiasm and the natural Stirrup flair.
"He became known as 'Mr Football' and his sleight of hand exchanges, especially with Daley, became legendary at Watersheddings.
"He provided short passes to put the likes ofLittle and Turner through a gap; long passes to open up the way for Cracknell or Etty to flydown the wing; no passes leaving defenders tackling shadows as be dummied his way overfor a try.
"These were all part of the Stirrup armourythat would regularly thrill the Watersheddings’crowd”.
"Considered desperately unlucky never to represent his country, Frank did play for Lancashire and was a popular club captain in the championship-winning season of 1956-17
having been the first Oldham skipper for more than 20 years to lift a major trophy after the Lancashire Cup final success over St. Helens atSwinton in 1956”.
“As an entertainer there were few, if any,who left such a lasting impression as Frank Stirrup”.
Whilst at Watersheddings Frank played four times for the county the highlight being in 1952 when along with Oldham colleagues Frank Daley, Alan Davies and Terry O'Grady they helped the Red Rose side win the County Championship. At the end of the 50's Stirrup replaced Griff Jenkins as coach before Gus Risman took over in a full-time capacity in 1960.
Having suffered from a debilitating disease for some years one of his last visits to the club was during the 2001 season when he was the fourth Leigh player to be inaugurated into the Hall of Fame along with Herman Hilton bringing the numbers up from eight to ten. He was presented to the crowd prior to the Leigh Centurions match played at Boundary Park. He was a great friend of Vince Nestor who also died recently.
Frank Stirrup's funeral service is to be held on Thursday 14th Feb at 12pm at St. Josephs' RC Church, Chapel St, Leigh followed by committal at 1pm at Howebridge Crematorium, Lovers Lane, Atherton M46 OPZ. The funeral directors are Sankey & Monks, 5, Hope St., Leigh
18th Jan 2013 - Jim McCormack- RIP
Just three days after the loss of Vinny Nestor, we now have had the sad news regarding, Jim McCormack, who has passed away following heart problems, aged 73.
Jim McCormack came to Oldham from Wigan at the start of the 64-65 season, a strong, hard-tackling centre who was bought to allow Peter Smethurst to move out of the threequarters into the pack.
He held down a first-team spot until the 1971-72 season when a shoulder injury forced his retirement after 165 senior games for Oldham, in which he scored 32 tries.
He played in two Lancashire Cup finals, the first in 1966 when Oldham were pipped 16-13 by Wigan at Swinton and again two years later when St Helens cruised past the Roughyeds 30-2 at Wigan after Oldham had led 2-0 at half-time.
The '66 team, beaten in front of a 14,193 crowd, lined up like this: McLeod; Dolly, McCormack, Donovan, Simms; Warburton, Canning; Wilson, Taylor, Fletcher, Smethurst, Irving, Mooney. Subs: Holroyd, Ogden.
Two years later, watched by a Central Park crowd of more than 17,000, Oldham fielded this team: Murphy; Elliott, Larder, McCormack, Whitehead; Briggs, Canning; Wilson, Taylor, Fletcher, Irving, McCourt, Hughes.Subs: Buckley, Maders.
McCormack was one of several Oldham players who were capped by Lancashire in his early days at Watersheddings, alongside the likes of John Donovan, Harry Major, Len McIntyre and Dave Parker
15th Jan 2013 - Vinny Nestor - RIP
Vincent "Vinny" Nestor, has passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday 15th January 2013 aged 75.
His nephew, David Croft, paid this tribute to him - "Vinny" as he was affectionately known played for Oldham RLFC during the late 1950s early 1960s. He was very proud (but modest at the same time) to be a member of one of Oldhams most successful sides. During his career at Oldham he appeared 232 times, scoring 86 tries. Oldham RLFC always had a special place in his heart and I for one never tired of hearing about his playing days. He will be missed by many friends, both attached and unattached to Rugby League."
He played league at every level for Leigh schoolboys but it was from Tyldesley Rugby Union Club, aged 17, that he signed for Oldham at the beginning of the 1955-56 season. A utility back, he made his debut in the 16-10 defeat at York on the 24th of September 1955 when selected at at out-half. National Service interrupted his playing career but played centre in the 1957 Lancashire Cup final13-8 victory over Wigan. Vinny played in all the back positions with the exception of scrum-half. He played on the wing vs. Hull in the 1960 Challenge Cup semi 12-9 defeat at Swinton and at out-half in the 1964 Challenge Cup semi and its two replays vs. Hull KR.
He was awarded a benefit season 64/65 culminating in a Oldham Past vs. Oldham Present match at Watersheddings although he didn't play in it.
The team for the 1957 Lancashire Cup final (above) read Ganley, Cracknell, Nestor, Davies, Etty, Daley, Pitchford, Jackson, Keith, Vines, Winslade, Little, Turner
The team for the 1964 Challenge Cup semi vs Hull KR at Leeds read Dyson, Sims, Donovan, Smethurst, Simms, Nestor, Pycroft, Bott, McIntyre, Wilson, Major, Whitehead, Parker
He played for Salford towards the end of his career.
His funeral will be held at St Josephs Catholic Church in Leigh, midday, Friday 25th January 2013.
THE RUGBY LEAGUE HERITAGE EXHIBITION
Sadly, the above exhibition has closed due to the George Hotel, Huddersfield entering administration. Mike Stephenson is confident that the exhibition will re-open at a new venue in the very near future. All articles loaned to the exhibition by the Oldham RL Heritage Trust have been removed but we too are confident that we will enter into a new agreement with Mike which will result in a show both bigger and better than when at the George!
OUR "ART IN RUGBY" EXHIBITION AND OLDHAM'S SPORTING HEROES HAS NOW CLOSED IT'S DOORS FOR THE FINAL TIME.....
Gallery Oldham’s doors have now been closed on both the Oldham RL Heritage Trust’s Art in Rugby and the Oldham Sporting Heroes’ exhibitions. The reviews have been great and the foot-traffic even higher than expected with some people visiting two or three times. The ribbon was cut by local MP Debbie Abrahams back in July before a packed house which included a number of Oldham’s Team GB athletes along with Dorothy Shirley-Emerson who won silver in the 1960 Rome Olympics. Oldham RFLC chairman Chris Hamilton was in attendance along with current Roughyeds’ prop-forward Liam Gilchrist who proved to be the star of the show entering a couple of his superb metal sculptures!
TAKE AN ARTISTIC TOUR THROUGH THE HISTORY OF OLDHAM RUGBY LEAGUE FOOTBALL CLUB AT GALLERY OLDHAM
Art in Rugby is an exhibition celebrating the history of Oldham’s rugby league club by featuring a selection of the Trust’s fascinating collection of paintings, sculptures, and photographs. The exhibition opens at Gallery Oldham on Saturday 14th of July in tandem with the fabulous Oldham’s Sporting Heroes exhibition which is featured in the adjoining gallery. The MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, Debbie Abrahams, will proclaim both events open when she cuts the tape at 1pm.
The exhibition takes a tour through the club’s history and touches on both the triumphs and failures throughout the years. The exhibits will encompass the work from artists of local, national and international repute and reflects the game from its Victorian beginnings right up to the present day. From the grandeur of “The Roses Match” painted by academy artist W. B. Wollen in 1893 to a collection of watercolours depicting Oldham players through the ages by Stephen Bennett and historic moments in the club’s history from the brush of Lincolnshire artist Steve ‘Smiff’ Smith plus other works by local artists including Bob Littleford, Andy Pemberton, David Ford and former Waterhead RLFC player Kevin Haynes along with a collection of cartoons by Norman Taylor
Sculptures on display include works from the renowned Mackenzie Thorpe and current Oldham player Liam Gilchrist! It all adds up to a feast of artistic diversity connected with the oval ball game.
This unique collection has been brought together by the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust, and is recognised as being a selection from one of the most important rugby club memorabilia collections in the world – both codes.
Art in Rugby is on display in the Community Gallery of Gallery Oldham and runs through to the 20th of October. Gallery Oldham is situated on Greaves Street off Union St. OL1 1AL. The gallery is open Monday to Saturday and admission is free. For further information regarding Gallery Oldham visit http://www.galleryoldham.org.uk/ or for the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust
www.orl-heritagetrust.org.uk or ‘phone 01457 875084.
Jan 2012 - Trust purchases the Doug Phillips Tour Collection
We are pleased to announce that the Trust has now completed the purchase of Doug Phillips's kits from the 1946 & 1950 tours to Australia & New Zealand. The collection includes his jumpers, shorts and socks, along with his tour caps. In addition we also obtained some other shirts and items associated with the tour.
There will be a full anouncement in the press and websites in the near future.
The Indomitables - The 1946 Rugby League Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand - New book now available
The 1946 Rugby League Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand is a remarkable story. It marked the relaunch of international rugby league in a world still devastated by the Second World War. It was also a great success for the Lions, as they won the Ashes and were the first team to be unbeaten in an Ashes series, despite an infamous sending-off in the first test.
The players travelled to Australia on the Aircraft Carrier HMS Indomitable. They faced a gruelling schedule, playing 20 games in Australia in two months, and a further seven in New Zealand.................
The book features Oldham's Doug Phillip's famous tour diary in full....
The King of Brilliance: James Lomas – A Rugby League Superstar - New book now available
Born in the west Cumbrian town of Maryport, James ‘Jimmy’ Lomas was one of the Northern Union’s earliest stars. Its first tour captain in 1910, one journalist claimed that ‘when Lomas was on the field you never noticed anybody else.’ Playing at stand-off or centre, he was a prolific point scorer, his career total of 2,312 constituting a record for the code at the time of his retirement in 1923. Following a world record transfer to Oldham in 1911.........
15th Dec 2011 - Geoff Robinson - RIP
GEOFF Robinson, the speedy back-row forward who played 177 first-class games for Oldham RL Club between 1959 and 1965, has died in his native Cumbria at the age of 77. His funeral took on Monday 19th December 2011, in a village near Penrith where he had lived for several years.
His signing from Whitehaven shortly before the start of the 1959-60 season hit the rugby league headlines because Oldham paid a transfer fee of £9,000 which was then a world record for a forward.
Heritage Trust publications in NZ
Demand for publications from the Heritage Trust continues around the world. Current Kiwi international Manu Vatuvei has been snapped with "Kangaroos, Kiwis & Roughyeds" and the "Complete History of Oldham RLFC". Thanks to Glen Dunkerley, an ex-oldhamer now living in New Zealand.
Charlie McCourt Memorial
Eurotunnel have recently erected a memorial in the memory of the eleven people who tragically lost their lives during the construction.
One of these was former Oldham RLFC player Charlie McCourt an electrician by trade who died as a result of a tragic accident inside the tunnel in 1990. His name is one of the eleven featured on the memorial.
The Heritage Trust will be holding an exhibition running in the Community Gallery in Gallery Oldham, from 14th July to 23rd September 2012. Featuring some of the previously unseen works of art and images in the Trust's collection, it is hoped to be a taster for a full exhibition to follow shortly after.
We will post further details nearer the time of the exhibition.
2011 Exhibition - The George Hotel,Huddersfield -
SEE EARLIER NOTE. HERITAGE CENTRE CLOSED. AWAITING NEWS RE NEW VENUE. EXPECTED SOON
Why not visit the renowned George Hotel in Huddersfield - the birthplace of rugby league – and venue to the excellent Rugby League Heritage Centre where there is a permanent display depicting the history of the Roughyeds? Sponsored by Gillette the centre plots the history of the sport and its personalities using plasma screens and state-of-the-art graphics punctuated by items that makes up a most magnificent memorabilia collection.
18th Dec 2010 - John Noon - RIP
JOHN Noon, the former Oldham Rugby League Club centre and Rochdale Hornets player-coach, died in the Royal Oldham Hospital on Saturday, aged 75.
He had been in hospital for nearly two weeks after suffering a stroke at his home in Waterhead.
An Oldhamer born and bred, he signed for his hometown club from local amateur side Lowermoor in 1953, aged 18, and went on to give the Watersheddings club a decade of service during a period of success that was unparalleled in Oldham's post-war history.
In 255 appearances between 1954 and 1964, he kicked 137 goals and scored 125 tries. Only three players — Alan Davies, Sid Rix and Mike Elliott — have scored more tries for Oldham than that.
In 1955-56 he played more games than anyone else (36 out of a possible 40) and he had the distinction, in 1958, of playing left centre to John Etty in the Oldham side that beat St Helens 12-2 in the final of the Lancashire Cup.
There was competition for centre spots from Davies and the talented Dennis Ayres and Vinny Nestor.
But Noon played in every back position for the club except scrum-half.
He is, however, best remembered as a centre — forceful on attack and uncompromising in defence.
He topped the 20-try mark in three consecutive seasons, 1959-60, 1960-61 and 1961-62, and in 1962-63, by which time the great Bernard Ganley's reign as king of goalkickers had come to an end, he was leading marksman.
Later appointed captain of Oldham, he was unfortunate to narrowly miss out on selection for Great Britain's tour of Australia in 1962, having kicked five goals as a combined Oldham-Hornets side beat the touring New Zealanders 10-8 at Watersheddings on September 4, 1961.
His final game for Oldham was in the Law Cup match of 1964, after which he became captain and player-coach of Rochdale Hornets where he enjoyed considerable success.
When he finally retired from the professional game he became coach at Saddleworth Rangers, whom he led to a Standard Cup final triumph in 1971.
All our titles are now sold out, exceptfor "Kangaroos, Kiwis & Roughyeds" for which a very small number remain. See here for details
Keep looking though as they will be an ebook version available shortly