Central Park (Wigan)

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Central Park
Home of Rugby League
Central park kop.jpg
Central Park (Wigan)
Full nameCentral Park
Location Wigan, England
Coordinates 53°33′1.5″N2°37′33″W / 53.550417°N 2.62583°W / 53.550417; -2.62583 Coordinates: 53°33′1.5″N2°37′33″W / 53.550417°N 2.62583°W / 53.550417; -2.62583
Capacity 18,000
Record attendance47,747 vs St Helens 27 March 1959
SurfaceGrass
Construction
Built1902
Opened1902
Closed1999
Demolished1999
Tenants
Wigan RLFC (1902–1999)

Central Park was a rugby league stadium in Wigan, England, which was the home of Wigan RLFC before the club moved to the JJB Stadium in 1999. Its final capacity was 18,000. The site is now a Tesco supermarket car park.

Contents

History

On 6 September 1902, Wigan played at Central Park for the first time in the opening match of the newly formed First Division. An estimated crowd of 9,000 spectators saw Wigan beat Batley 148.

The first rugby league international was played between England and Other Nationalities at Central Park on 5 April 1904, Other Nationalities won 9-3 in the experimental Loose forward-less 12-a-side game, with Wigan players David "Dai" Harris, and Eli Davies in the Other Nationalities team.

The visit of St. Helens on 27 March 1959 produced Central Park's record attendance of 47,747, and set a record for a rugby league regular season league game in Britain. Wigan won the game 1914, holding off a Saints' comeback after having led 140.

Floodlights were installed on 120 ft high pylons in summer 1967 so that the club could play in the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy.

On 7 October 1987, Central Park was the first English venue used for the World Club Challenge (WCC) between the English champions and the Winfield Cup premiers from Australia. The 1987 World Club Challenge between Wigan and Manly-Warringah saw the home side run out 8-2 winners in a try-less game in front of 36,895, though many who were there believe the attendance was closer to 50,000 on the night, far exceeding the 36,000 capacity of the ground at the time. The game was marred by several all-in brawls, while Manly captain Paul Vautin was almost pushed over the fence and into the crowd by a group of Wigan players who had tackled him into touch, the incident sparking another all-in. Manly fullback Dale Shearer and second-rower Ron Gibbs were the main villains of the parochial Wigan crowd. Gibbs became the first player to be sent off in a WCC after hitting Wigan centre Joe Lydon with an elbow to the head after Lydon attempted a field goal, while later in the game Shearer appeared to step on the head of Lydon while getting up from a tackle.

Despite the ugly on-field play, the success of the match and its high attendance saw the World Club Challenge made into an annual event between the English and Australian champions starting in 1989.

A week after the 1992 Rugby League World Cup Final (WCF) at Wembley Stadium which saw Australia defeat Great Britain 10-6, Central Park hosted the 1992 World Club Challenge between Wigan and the Brisbane Broncos. With twelve players who played in the WCF playing the challenge (5 from Wigan, 7 from Brisbane), the Broncos became the first Australian side to win the challenge in England with a 22-8 victory in front of 17,764 fans. Wigan would get their revenge just two years later when they defeated the Broncos 20-14 in the 1994 World Club Challenge played in front of a WCC record attendance of 54,220 at the ANZ Stadium in Brisbane. Showing the loyalty of the club's fans, several thousand travelled to Brisbane to support the team, the win seeing Wigan become the first English team to win the Challenge on Australian soil.

Statue commemorating Central park, which is now the site of a Tesco Whatever Happened to Central Park^ - geograph.org.uk - 47047.jpg
Statue commemorating Central park, which is now the site of a Tesco

In January 1997 the club's shareholders approved a deal in which the stadium would be sold to Wigan Athletic's owner Dave Whelan and be redeveloped to provide a new home for both the football and rugby teams. Two months later however, the Warriors' chairman Jack Robinson accepted a rival bid from Tesco, pointing out that the supermarket's offer was three times bigger than Whelan's. [1]

The final game at Central Park was on Sunday 5 September 1999. Wigan beat St Helens by 28 points to 20, 96 years and 364 days after the first game against Batley was played. The Central Park site later became a car park for a Tesco supermarket.

Rugby League Test Matches

List of rugby league test matches played at Central Park. [2]

Test#DateResultAttendanceNotes
15 April 1904 Other Nationalities def. Flag of England.svg  England 9–36,000
21 January 1906Flag of England.svg  England drew with Other Nationalities 3–38,000
37 February 1923Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales def. Flag of England.svg  England 13–212,000
430 September 1925Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 18–1412,000
52 October 1926 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg England def. Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 28–2014,500 1926–27 England vs New Zealand series
611 January 1928Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 20–1212,000
727 February 1943Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 15–917,000
826 February 1944Flag of England.svg  England drew with Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 9–916,028
910 March 1945Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 23–823,500
1020 September 1947Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales def. Flag of England.svg  England 10–827,000 1947–48 European Rugby League Championship
1122 September 1948Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 11–512,638 1948–49 European Rugby League Championship
121 March 1950Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 11–627,500 1949–50 European Rugby League Championship
1311 April 1951 Other Nationalities def. Flag of England.svg  England 25–1017,000 1950–51 European Rugby League Championship
1423 April 1952Flag of England.svg  England def. Other Nationalities 31–1820,000 1951–52 European Rugby League Championship
1517 September 1952Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 19–813,503 1952–53 European Rugby League Championship
1628 November 1953Flag of England.svg  England def. Other Nationalities 30–2219,000 1953–54 European Rugby League Championship
1712 September 1955Flag of England.svg  England def. Other Nationalities 33–1618,234 1955–56 European Rugby League Championship
1817 November 1956Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 21–1022,473 1956 Ashes series
1923 November 1957Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of France.svg  France 44–1519,152
2012 December 1959Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 18–1226,089 1959 Ashes series
2124 September 1960Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia def. Flag of France.svg  France 13–1220,278 1960 Rugby League World Cup
228 October 1960Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand def. Flag of France.svg  France 9–02,876
2317 February 1962Flag of France.svg  France def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 20–1517,277
243 April 1963Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of France.svg  France 42–419,487
256 November 1965Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain drew with Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 9–97,919 1965 Great Britain vs New Zealand series
265 March 1966Flag of France.svg  France def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 8–414,004
274 March 1967Flag of France.svg  France def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 23–137,448
2825 October 1969Flag of England.svg  England drew with Flag of France.svg  France 11–114,568 1969–70 European Rugby League Championship
2921 October 1970Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia def. Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 47–119,805 1970 Rugby League World Cup group stage
3017 February 1974Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of France.svg  France 29–09,108
311 November 1975Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia 16–139,393 1975 Rugby League World Cup
3221 October 1978Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 15–917,644 1978 Ashes series
3318 October 1980Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain drew with Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 14–147,031 1980 Great Britain vs New Zealand series
3420 November 1982Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 27–623,126 1982 Ashes series
352 November 1985Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 25–815,506 1985 Great Britain vs New Zealand series
361 March 1986Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of France.svg  France 24–108,112
3722 November 1986Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 24–1520,169 1986 Ashes series
1985–1988 Rugby League World Cup
3824 October 1987Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 42–09,121 1985–1988 Rugby League World Cup
3921 January 1989Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of France.svg  France 26–108,266
4011 November 1989Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 10–620,346 1989 Great Britain vs New Zealand series
1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup
419 November 1991Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg  Papua New Guinea 56–44,193 1989–1992 Rugby League World Cup
4230 October 1993Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain def. Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand 29–1216,502 1993 Great Britain vs New Zealand series
4311 October 1995Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Fiji.svg  Fiji 46–026,263 1995 Rugby League World Cup Group A

Rugby League Tour Matches

Other than Wigan club games and test matches, Central Park was also a regular host to various international touring teams from 1907–1994.

gameDateResultAttendanceNotes
19 November 1907 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 12–830,000 1907–08 All Golds tour
211 January 1908 England colours.svg England XIII def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 18–1612,000
325 November 1908 Australian colours.svg Australia def. FlagOfLancashire.PNG Lancashire 20–64,000 1908–09 Kangaroo Tour
49 January 1909 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. Australian colours.svg Australia 10–74,000
520 January 1909 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. Australian colours.svg Australia 16–89,100
628 October 1911 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. Australian colours.svg Australasia 7–225,000 1911–12 Kangaroo Tour
731 January 1912 Australian colours.svg Australasia def. England colours.svg Northern Union XIII 20–122,000
815 October 1921 Australian colours.svg Australasia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 14–624,308 1921–22 Kangaroo Tour
93 December 1929 England colours.svg Northern Union XIII def. Australian colours.svg Australasia 18–59,987 1929–30 Kangaroo Tour
1028 December 1929 Australian colours.svg Australasia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 10–98,000
1123 September 1933 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 10–415,712 1933–34 Kangaroo Tour
126 March 1934 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. France colours.svg France 30–278,0001934 French rugby league tour
133 November 1937 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 25–239,800 1937–38 Kangaroo Tour
1420 October 1948 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. Australian colours.svg Australia 16–1128,554 1948–49 Kangaroo Tour
158 December 1948 FlagOfLancashire.PNG Lancashire def. Australian colours.svg Australia 13–811,788
1626 August 1950 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. Italy colours.svg Italy 49–28
1724 September 1952 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 23–1316,223 1952–53 Kangaroo Tour
188 December 1956 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 32–415,854 1956–57 Kangaroo Tour
1914 November 1959 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. Australian colours.svg Australia 16–924,466 1959–60 Kangaroo Tour
2025 September 1963 FlagOfLancashire.PNG Lancashire def. Australian colours.svg Australia 13–1115,068 1963–64 Kangaroo Tour
2118 November 1963 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 32–411,746
2213 October 1967 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. Australian colours.svg Australia 12–622,770 1967–68 Kangaroo Tour
2317 November 1972 Wigancolours.svg Wigan drew with Australian colours.svg Australia 18–186,000 1972 Australian Rugby League World Cup tour
2418 November 1978 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 28–210,645 1978 Kangaroo Tour
2513 October 1982 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 13–912,158 1982 Kangaroo Tour
2623 October 1983 Queensland colours.svg Queensland def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 40–29,7491983 Queensland Maroons tour
276 October 1985 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 14–8 1985 New Zealand Kiwis tour
2812 October 1986 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 26–1830,622 1986 Kangaroo Tour
2914 October 1990 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 34–624,814 1990 Kangaroo Tour
3010 October 1993 New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 25–18 1993 New Zealand Kiwis tour
318 October 1994 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 30–2020,057 1994 Kangaroo Tour

World Club Challenge/Championship

Central Park hosted 5 World Club Challenge games between 1987–1997.

GameDateResultAttendanceYear
17 October 1987 Wigancolours.svg Wigan def. Manly Sea Eagles colours.svg Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 8–236,895 1987 World Club Challenge
230 October 1992 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan 22–817,764 1992 World Club Challenge
320 July 1997 Brisbane colours.svg Brisbane Broncos def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 30–412,816 1997 World Club Championship
428 July 1997 Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors def. Canterbury colours.svg Canterbury Bulldogs 31–2410,280
53 August 1997 Canberra colours.svg Canberra Raiders def. Wigancolours.svg Wigan Warriors 50–1012,504

See also

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References

  1. Dave Hadfield (6 March 1997). "Rugby League: Wigan exiled by pounds 12m Central Park sale". The Independent.
  2. Shawn Dollin and Andrew Ferguson. "Central Park - Rugby League Project".
Preceded by
Springfield Park
Home of Wigan RLFC  
1902 1999
Succeeded by
DW Stadium
Preceded by
Flag of Australia (converted).svg Sydney Cricket Ground
Host of the World Club Challenge  
1987
Succeeded by
Flag of England.svg Old Trafford
Preceded by
Flag of England.svg Anfield
Host of the World Club Challenge  
1992
Succeeded by
Flag of Australia (converted).svg ANZ Stadium