49 things you never knew about Wilderspool

Warrington Guardian: 49 things you never knew about Wilderspool 49 things you never knew about Wilderspool

FROM Brian Bevan to Canadian Olympic stars, World War bombings and fires - we take a look at 49 things you may not have known about Wilderspool, which staged its last game on Thursday.

1 1898 (September 3)

THE first game to take place at Wilderspool Stadium.
Warrington draw 3-3 with Swinton.

2 1900 (March 24)
WIRE’S legendary winger Jack Fish becomes the first Warrington player to score five tries in a match as the team thrash Goole 44-0 at Wilderspool in the second round of the Challenge Cup.
Fish also kicks seven goals for a match haul of 29 points.

Warrington Guardian:

3 1906 (September 8)
ON the back of a decision to reduce Northern Union teams from 15-a-side to 13-a-side, Wilderspool stages its first 13-a-side game.
Wire beat Hull 33-7.

4 1907 (December 21)
THE New Zealand ‘All Golds’ became the first touring side to play at the home of the Wire.
Warrington win 8-7 in front of an 8,000 crowd.

5 1908 (November 14)
THE first Australian touring team pay their first visit to Wilderspool.
Warrington win 10-3.

6 1909 (April 12)
Warrington achieve a club record victory by thrashing St Helens 78-6 at Wilderspool.
Welsh forward George Thomas scores 33 points (five tries, nine goals), also a club record.

Warrington Guardian:

7 1911 (September 2)
THE first stage of the main stand is opened by the club president Mr T Locker before Warrington’s 16-10 victory over Leigh.

8 1914 (January 17)
WARRINGTON’S first team players who are on strike over the non-payment of a £1 bonus, address the 4,000 strong Wilderspool crowd after an A team game to explain their grievances.

9 1921 (March 2)
MORE than 21,000 fans pack into Wilderspool to see the Challenge Cup first round replay against Hull.
Warrington win 16-5.
This is believed to be the first 20,000 plus crowd at Wilderspool.

Warrington Guardian:

10 1926
WILDERSPOOL stages its first Lancashire Cup final as St Helens beat St Helens Recreation 10-2.
Attendance is 19,439.

Warrington Guardian:

11 1927
WILDERSPOOL stages its first Championship final as 24,432 fans see Swinton defeat St Helens Recreation 13-8.

12 1929 (September 26)
WILDERSPOOL holds a record crowd for a Lancashire game as 24,000 see the county side lose 29-14 to Australia.

13 1932 (January 2)
WIRE versus Halifax at Wilderspool is the first league match to be broadcast on radio.
Warrington lose 2-0.

14 1933 (April 6)
WINGER Tommy ‘Tubby’ Thompson becomes the first Warrington player to score six tries in a match as the ‘Wire’ beat Bradford Northern 38-12 at Wilderspool.

15 1934 (January 13)
THE new changing rooms under the main stand are opened by the club president and mayor of Warrington, Councillor A Crowe, before the 16-8 victory over Hull.

16 1940 (September 14)
WHILE Warrington are playing Broughton Rangers at Wilderspool a German aircraft bombs the Thames Board Mills factory at Arpley Meadows.

Warrington Guardian:

17 1941-45
WILDERSPOOL is commandeered by the military and the main stand is used as a store room.

18 1945 (November 17)
BRIAN Bevan makes his Warrington debut as the wire beat Oldham 12-3 at Wilderspool.
Bevan fails to score.

Warrington Guardian: Brian Bevan touches down for Warrington. There'll be more to come of Bevan in the coming weeks.

19 1947 (February 1)
VISIT of Wigan generates record receipts for a league game at Wilderspool, £2,143 10s 3d, after 26,127 fans pay at the turnstiles and approximately 2,000 season ticket holders also attend.

20 1947 (September 3)
FOR the first time, more than 30,000 fans watch Warrington at Wilderspool as 30,150 see the Lancashire Cup first round tie against Wigan, who win 15-10.

21 1948 (March 13)
WARRINGTON’S first all ticket home game sees 30,000 fans pay new ground record receipts of £4,145 to watch the Challenge Cup third round tie against Wigan.

22 1948 (March 29, Easter Monday)
BRIAN Bevan scores a club record seven tries in a match as Warrington beat Leigh 28-8 at Wilderspool in front of a 20,000 crowd).

23 1949 (October 29)
ALL 35,000 tickets for the Lancashire Cup final between Wigan and Leigh at Wilderspool are sold but only 33,701 turn up on the day so the record crowd set nine months earlier still stands.

24 1950 (January)
MORE than 6,000 spectators turn up to see the Canadian Olympic sprinter Ted Haggis make his debut on the left wing for Warrington against a Lancashire Amateurs side.

25 1950 (September 13)
HAROLD Palin kicks a club record 14 goals in a game as Warrington destroy Liverpool Stanley 73-0 in the first round of the Lancashire Cup at Wilderspool.

26 1951 (December 1)
LAURIE Gilfedder becomes the youngest player ever to play for Warrington when he makes his Wire debut against Belle Vue Rangers at Wilderspool aged 16 years and 199 days.

27 1953 (April 22)
BRIAN Bevan equals his own club record by scoring seven tries in a match against Bramley at Wilderspool.
Bevan’s seventh try takes his total for the season to 66, another record.

28 1955 (March 12)
BRIAN Bevan scores the 500th try of his career as Warrington beat Workington Town 35-9 at Wilderspool.

29 1957 (November 16)
BRIAN Bevan scores the 600th try of his career as Warrington defeat Bramley 29-17 at Wilderspool.

30 1959 (November 28)
BRIAN Bevan scores the 700th try of his career as Warrington beat Blackpool Borough 30-12 at Wilderspool.

31 1962 (April 23)
A CROWD of 16,578 pack into Wilderspool to see Brian Bevan, made captain for the day, play his final game for Warrington.

Warrington Guardian: Brian Bevan needs an escort off the pitch after his final game for Warrington in 1962

32 1965 (September 28)
WILDERSPOOL’S first floodlights are officially switched on by Mr John Whitley, managing director of Greenall Whitley.
To mark the occasion, Warrington play Wigan in a floodlit friendly and produce one of their best displays of the season to win 9-5.

33 1970 (November 29)
WILDERSPOOL is the venue for one of Warrington’s most humiliating defeats, 50-0 at the hands of Salford.
The Red Devils lead 29-0 at half-time and go on to cross for 12 tries.

34 1972 (November)
THE £300,000 new Wilderspool Centre is officially opened.
Complete with concert hall, bars, sauna and squash courts, patrons are also invited to dance to Eric Pepp, the resident organist.
Life membership costs £105.

35 1973 (September 23)
FORMER Cardiff, Wales, Barbarians and British Lions rugby union wingers John Bevan makes a try scoring debut for Warrington against Castleford at Wilderspool.

Warrington Guardian: John Bevan soaks up the applause

36 1973 (December 1)
WILDERSPOOL stages its one and only Great Britain v Australia Test match.

Warrington Guardian:

37 1974 (March 3)
SCRUM half Parry Gordon scores five tries in a match as Warrington defeat Dewsbury, then one of the top teams in the country, 26-10 at Wilderspool.

38 1978 (October 11)
WIRE beat Australia 15-12 at a packed-house Wilderspool Stadium.

Warrington Guardian:

39 1982 (April 29)
THE main stand is burnt to the ground within the space of 20 minutes at lunch time.

Warrington Guardian:

40 1983 (February 6)
THE new main stand, now called the Brian Bevan stand, is officially opened prior to Warrington’s 18-16 defeat of Hull.

Warrington Guardian:

41 1988 (January 1)
IN the New Year’s Day ‘derby’ against Wigan ‘World War Three’ erupts after four players are sent off and one sin binned during the opening 20 minutes.

Warrington Guardian:

42 1989 (October 10)

WIRE outplay a supremely talented Widnes team 28-6 in the semi-finals of the Lancashire Cup in front of a 10,240 crowd at Wilderspool.

43 1992 (October 13)
WILDERSPOOL’S smallest first team crowd – 1,412 – watch Warrington beat Blackpool Gladiators 32-8 in the regal Trophy preliminary round.

44 1993 (March 28)
A MINUTE’S silence is observed before the league match against St Helens in memory of two young boys, Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry, who were killed when an IRA bomb exploded in the town centre eight days earlier.

Warrington Guardian:

45 1994 (January 2)
ALL roads lead to Wilderspool for a titanic ‘derby’ with Wigan.
The gates are locked with 11,379 spectators inside the ground and 2,000 more frustrated fans outside.
Wigan win a match that ends in heartbreak and controversy 8-6.

46 1995 (October 8)
WILDERSPOOL’S biggest ‘gate’ of the season sees a thrilling Centenary World Cup game – New Zealand versus Tonga.

47 1997 (March 31)
WIRE beat Wigan at Wilderspool for the first time since 1986 thanks to a wonderful team effort and a hat-trick of tries from Nigel Vagana.

Warrington Guardian:

48 2003 (September 21)
THERE was not a dry in the house as the last first team game at Wilderspool was played out.
Wolves beat Wakefield 52-12 on a day of high drama in front of a sell-out crowd.

Warrington Guardian:

49 2014 (May 15)
THE final game at the ground sees a Wolves youth side take on a Cumbrian team.
The stadium is now to be demolished to make way for future development.

Warrington Guardian:

Comments (2)

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4:08pm Fri 16 May 14

Bakubrit says...

Happy days.
Saw Bevs first & last games and most int between. Was also there when there was 30,000 plus. I stood in the kids pen at the railway end with me old, wiredrawer dad, passing cups of tea and Bovril through the bars. Walking back over Bridge Foot, 10 to 15 deep saying what we had done, or maybe wat we should have done. All forgotten when we got got back to Fothergill Street and got stuck into home made steak & kidney pies with lashings of gravy.
Nosalgia ? You bet
Happy days. Saw Bevs first & last games and most int between. Was also there when there was 30,000 plus. I stood in the kids pen at the railway end with me old, wiredrawer dad, passing cups of tea and Bovril through the bars. Walking back over Bridge Foot, 10 to 15 deep saying what we had done, or maybe wat we should have done. All forgotten when we got got back to Fothergill Street and got stuck into home made steak & kidney pies with lashings of gravy. Nosalgia ? You bet Bakubrit
  • Score: 8

10:59pm Fri 16 May 14

Redhillwire says...

First game was Leeds in Jan 1977. Many, many happy memories of the ground and saw all but one on the list in my time before moving down south in 1995. I even saw the smoke from the fire as I went past on a bus down the Causeway. Would have loved to have gone to the last game, but happy to have seen some great games and great players. I can't really remember much of the Aussie game from 1978, so for me WWIII on New Years Day 88 has to be my favourite. Even if I did have a stinking hangover.
First game was Leeds in Jan 1977. Many, many happy memories of the ground and saw all but one on the list in my time before moving down south in 1995. I even saw the smoke from the fire as I went past on a bus down the Causeway. Would have loved to have gone to the last game, but happy to have seen some great games and great players. I can't really remember much of the Aussie game from 1978, so for me WWIII on New Years Day 88 has to be my favourite. Even if I did have a stinking hangover. Redhillwire
  • Score: 3

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