Wilderspool Stadium

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Wilderspool
Old Wilderspool Stadium entrance (geograph 2784122).jpg
Wilderspool Stadium
Full nameWilderspool Stadium
LocationFletcher Street, Warrington
Coordinates 53°22′57″N2°35′17″W / 53.38250°N 2.58806°W / 53.38250; -2.58806 Coordinates: 53°22′57″N2°35′17″W / 53.38250°N 2.58806°W / 53.38250; -2.58806
Owner Warrington Borough Council
Operator Warrington Wolves
Capacity 9,200 (900 seating)
SurfaceGrass
ScoreboardManual
Construction
Built1881
Opened1881
Renovated1888
Expanded1983, 2000
Closed2014
Demolished2014
Tenants
Warrington Wolves (1898–2003)
Warrington Wizards (2003–2012)

Wilderspool Stadium was a rugby league stadium in Warrington, England. The ground was Warrington RLFC's old ground before moving to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Contents

History

In 1898, Warrington RLFC moved to the Wilderspool Stadium. A 10-year lease was agreed with Greenall Whitley for land on the east side of their previous ground, a pitch previously used by Latchford Rovers Rugby Club. Warrington's previous pitch was used to build houses in Fletcher Street.

Wilderspool Stadium was modernised and extended in the inter-war period, becoming one of the finest venues in rugby league, and being awarded host status for Championship finals, Challenge Cup semi-finals, and tour games. A new west perimeter wall and turnstiles were built at Wilderspool around 1921. In 1925 the supporters' club provided Warrington with covered accommodation on the popular side of the ground and two years later, they donated a scoreboard. In 1926, the perimeter wooden fence being replaced by a concrete wall. New dressing rooms underneath the main stand were opened in January 1934.

Wilderspool's record attendance was created in the 1948-9 season when 34,304 spectators turned up to see Warrington lose only their second game of the season to Wigan.

During the Second World War, Wilderspool was requisitioned for the war effort; being used as a storage depot.

In April, 1953, Wilderspool staged its first international, a match between Wales and Other Nationalities.

In 1958, the popular side terracing became fully covered and soon after the Fletcher Street End was given a roof.

In 1965, floodlights were installed at Wilderspool.

A stand was completely destroyed by arson in 1982. [1] The Brian Bevan stand was built in 1983 to replace the one lost to arson.

During the 1994 Kangaroo tour, Australia defeated Warrington 24-0 at Wilderspool before a crowd of 11,244 in the Kangaroos' last game at the ground. The record Kangaroo Tour attendance at the stadium was on the 1948-9 tour when 26,879 saw Warrington defeat the Kangaroos 16-7. [2]

Warrington RLFC left Wilderspool for the Halliwell Jones Stadium in 2003. [3] The final game was played in September 2003 with Warrington beating Wakefield 52–12. [4]

The stadium was finally demolished between August and October 2014. [4] A plan for 160 houses on the site was submitted in 2019, more than 16 years after the final game at Wilderspool. [5]

The scoreboard from Wilderspool was restored and placed in Warrington's Victoria Park in 2017. [6]

Rugby League Test matches

List of Test and World Cup matches played at Wilderspool Stadium. [7]

Game#DateResultAttendanceNotes
115 April 1953Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales def. Other Nationalities 18–168,449 1952–53 European Rugby League Championship
21 December 1973Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia def. Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  Great Britain 15–510,019 1973 Ashes series
320 September 1975Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of Wales (1959-present).svg  Wales 22–165,034 1975 Rugby League World Cup
424 March 1979Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of France.svg  France 12–65,004 1979 European Rugby League Championship
58 October 1995Flag of New Zealand.svg  New Zealand def. Flag of Tonga.svg  Tonga 25–248,083 1995 Rugby League World Cup Group B
620 October 1995Flag of Russia.svg  Russia def. Flag of the United States.svg  United States 28–261,950 1995 Rugby League Emerging Nations Tournament
716 November 2003Flag of England.svg  England def. Flag of France.svg  France 68–62,536 2003 European Nations Cup

Rugby League Tour Matches

Wilderspool also saw Warrington and the county team Lancashire play host to various international touring teams from 1907–1994.

GameDateResultAttendanceNotes
121 December 1907 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 15–1310,000 1907–08 All Golds tour
214 November 1908 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. Australian colours.svg Australia 10–35,000 1908–09 Kangaroo Tour
38 February 1909 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington drew with Australian colours.svg Australia 8–87,000
430 December 1911 Australian colours.svg Australasia def. Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 34–68,500 1911–12 Kangaroo Tour
529 October 1921 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. Australian colours.svg Australasia 10–316,000 1921–22 Kangaroo Tour
614 December 1921 FlagOfLancashire.PNG Lancashire def. Australian colours.svg Australasia 8–66,000
79 October 1926 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 17–55,000 1926–27 New Zealand Kiwis tour
826 September 1929 Australian colours.svg Australasia def. FlagOfLancashire.PNG Lancashire 29–1424,000 1929–30 Kangaroo Tour
921 December 1929 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. Australian colours.svg Australasia 17–812,826
1020 September 1933 Australian colours.svg Australia def. FlagOfLancashire.PNG Lancashire 33–716,576 1933–34 Kangaroo Tour
1114 October 1933 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. Australian colours.svg Australia 15–1216,431
1217 March 1934 England colours.svg English League XIII def. France colours.svg France 32–1611,1001934 French rugby league tour
1329 September 1937 FlagOfLancashire.PNG Lancashire def. Australian colours.svg Australia 7–516,250 1937–38 Kangaroo Tour
1427 November 1937 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. Australian colours.svg Australia 8–612,637
1530 October 1948 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. Australian colours.svg Australia 16–726,879 1948–49 Kangaroo Tour
1611 October 1952 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 34–1021,478 1952–53 Kangaroo Tour
1719 November 1952 Australian colours.svg Australia def. FlagOfLancashire.PNG Lancashire 36–115,863
1827 October 1956 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. Australian colours.svg Australia 21–1715,613 1956–57 Kangaroo Tour
1919 September 1959 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 30–2417,112 1959–60 Kangaroo Tour
2014 September 1963 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 28–2020,090 1963–64 Kangaroo Tour
2130 September 1967 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 16–711,642 1967–68 Kangaroo Tour
2211 October 1978 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. Australian colours.svg Australia 15–1210,143 1978 Kangaroo Tour
2329 October 1980 Wolvescolours.svg Warrington def. New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg New Zealand 11–75,680 1980 New Zealand Kiwis tour
2431 October 1990 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 26–610,200 1990 Kangaroo Tour
249 November 1994 Australian colours.svg Australia def. Wolvescolours.svg Warrington 24–011,244 1994 Kangaroo Tour

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The 1928–29 Lancashire Cup was the 21st running of this regional rugby league competition. Wigan took the trophy for the 6th time, by beating Widnes by 5–4 in the final played at Wilderspool, Warrington. The attendance was 19,000 and receipts £1,150.

1935–36 was the twenty-eighth occasion on which the Lancashire Cup completion had been held.
Salford won the trophy by beating Wigan by 15-7.
The match was played at Wilderspool, Warrington, now in the County Palatine of Chester but (historically in the county of Lancashire. The attendance was 16,500 and receipts were £950.
This was the second of the three consecutive Lancashire Cup finals in which Salford would beat Wigan.

1936–37 was the twenty-ninth occasion on which the Lancashire Cup completion had been held.
Salford won the trophy by beating Wigan by 5-2
The match was played at Wilderspool, Warrington, now in the County Palatine of Chester but (historically in the county of Lancashire. The attendance was 17,500 and receipts were £1,160.
This was the third of the three consecutive Lancashire Cup finals in which Salford would beat Wigan

1945–46 was the thirty-third occasion on which the Lancashire Cup completion had been held, and the first since the end of the Second World War in Europe.
For the first time for several seasons there is a new name on the trophy; that of one of the founder members of the Northern Union, Widnes, who won the trophy by beating Wigan by the score of 7-3.
The match was played at Wilderspool, Warrington,. The attendance was 28,184 and receipts were £2,600.

1947–48 was the thirty-fifth occasion on which the Lancashire Cup completion had been held.

The 1949–50 Lancashire Cup competition was the 37th Rugby League Lancashire Cup. In the final, Wigan beat Leigh 20-7 to win the trophy. Thirty-five thousand people attended the match, which took place at Wilderspool, Warrington with receipts of £4,751. The attendance was the second-highest to date for the competition. This was the fourth of Wigan’s record-breaking run of six consecutive Lancashire Cup victories.

The 1972–73 Lancashire Cup was the sixtieth occasion on which the competition was held. Salford won the trophy by beating Swinton by the score of 25-11 in the final. The match was played at Wilderspool, Warrington,. The attendance was 6,865 and receipts were £3,321.00

The 1973–74 Lancashire Cup was the sixty-first occasion of the Lancashire Cup. Wigan won the trophy by beating Salford by the score of 19–9 in the final. The match was played at Wilderspool, Warrington. The attendance was 8,012 and receipts were £2,750.

The 1977–78 Lancashire Cup tournament was the sixty-fifth occasion on which the Lancashire Cup had been contested. For the first time in many years, there was a new name on the trophy as this time it was relative newcomers Workington Town who joined the league in 1945. Workington Town won the trophy by beating Wigan in the final by the score of 16-13. The match was played at Wilderspool, Warrington, now in the County Palatine of Chester but. The attendance was 9,548 and receipts were £5,038. After relatively little success in the competition, Workington Town had reached the semi-final stage in 1973, 1974 and 1975, had been runner-up in 1976, and now winner in 1977. They would go on to be runners-up again in 1978 and 1979.

The 1991–92 Lancashire Cup was the seventy-ninth occasion on which the completion had been held. St. Helens won the trophy by beating Rochdale Hornets by the score of 24-14 in the final. The match was played at Wilderspool, Warrington, now in the County Palatine of Chester but. The attendance was 9,269 and receipts were £ ?

1974 was the tenth occasion on which the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy competition had been held. A new name was put on the trophy when Salford won by beating Warrington by the score of 10-5 in a replay. The final was played at The Willows, Salford,. The attendance was 4,473, receipts were £1913 and the score 0-0. The replay was at Wilderspool. The attendance was 5,778, receipts were £2434 and the score 10-5. This was the first floodlit final to require a replay after a drawn first match.

This was the fourth season for the League Cup, which was again known as the Players No.6 Trophy for sponsorship reasons.

The 1973 Kangaroo Tour was the thirteenth Kangaroo Tour, and saw the Australian national rugby league team travel to Europe and play nineteen matches against British and French club and representative rugby league teams, in addition to three Test matches against Great Britain and two Tests against the French. It followed the tour of 1967-68 and the next was staged in 1978.

References

  1. "Timeline". My Warrington.
  2. 1948 Kangaroo tour @ Rugby League Project Archived 17 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  3. Andy Wilson (16 September 2003). "Wilderspool braced for final hooter". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  4. 1 2 Malia, Simon (7 August 2014). "Wilderspool demolition paves way for Wire Regeneration masterplan".
  5. Skentelbery, David (8 February 2019). "160-homes plan for former Wilderspool Stadium site". Warrington Worldwide.
  6. Everett, Adam. "Wilderspool Stadium scoreboard restored in Victoria Park". Warrington Guardian.
  7. Wilderspool results @ Rugby League Project