WARRINGTON Wolves have broken a club record this week - by not playing!

Monday was the 46th day since the 38-4 win at Hull FC on March 12, beating the previous sequence of match inactivtiy within a season that was set in the 1962/63 season.

Back in the 1962/63 season the league was split into two divisions, and Warrington welcomed Hull KR to Wilderspool in the first division on Saturday, December 15.

Rovers left having registered a 17-8 victory, their first at Wilderspool for 34 years.

It would also prove to be hooker Bill Harper’s last game for the club.

At that stage of the season, Warrington were fourth, with near neighbours Widnes occupying the top spot.

The Wire’s next scheduled fixture, the following Saturday, was to be at Wheldon Road, Castleford.

The club prepared as usual and the team picked was Fraser; Catterall, Challinor, Pickavance, Glover; Greenough, Edwards; Payne, Harper, Brindle, Fisher, Gilfedder, Delooze.

Unfortunately factors came into play that were out of the club’s hands.

The country went into ‘lockdown’ , not caused by a deadly virus, as now, but by the weather.

The winter of 1962/63 was to give the UK it’s coldest for more than 200 years.

It was due to a big area of high pressure that sat to the north of the island, bringing with it north to north easterly winds, which contained very cold Arctic air.

The Castleford game was postponed, and the next fixture was to be on Boxing Day, against Bramley.

Significant snowfall came down however, and covered the country in a white blanket, and another fixture bit the dust!

And so did the Oldham away match scheduled on December 29 as blizzards swept the country.

As temperatures struggled to get above freezing point in January, the postponement of matches continued.

Warrington’s Saturday fixtures of Wigan (home), Huddersfield (away), Castleford (home) and Leeds (away – two days before their committee met to approve installation of under-soil heating) all added to the chaos of a future fixture pile-up.

Some clubs had even tried to use sand or salt on their pitches, to no avail, and players took to training indoors or even on the beach to keep fit.

Castleford ground staff were determined at all costs to get their re-arranged game against Warrington on.

It was scheduled to be played on Wednesday, January 30, with a 3pm kick-off.

A great effort from local enthusiasts was spent all day on the Sunday prior to the game, working on the ground, in removing tons of ice and snow.

Then on the Monday and Tuesday night they had four men stoking and moving up to 60 braziers round, to soften the pitch.

There was a good following of Warrington supporters in the crowd of 4,650.

On arrival at the ground however, the Warrington team officials saw hard patches here and there, and made a protest, but these were overruled, and the match was played.

The teams for that game were:

Castleford: Dickinson; Gamble, G Ward, Small, Marsden; Hardisty, Edwards; Hirst, J Ward, Walton,W Bryant, Walker E Bryant.

Warrington: Fraser; Challinor, Holden, Pickavance, Glover; Greenough, Edwards; Payne, Brindle, Winslade, Fisher, Gilfedder, Delooze.

Referee – Ken Rathbone (St. Helens)

Warrington went on to win the match 12-9 with tries from Brian Glover and Bobby Greenough, two goals from Laurie Gilfedder, and a drop goal from Jim Challinor.

Castleford’s points came from a try from Small, and two goals and a drop goal from Dickinson.

Glover would end the season as the club’s leading try scorer with 24.

Greenough was in second place, with 20 tries.

Keith Holden, centre, a signing, aged 25, from Oldham, made his Warrington debut that day.

He would go on to play for Great Britain later that year.

Jackie Edwards, a popular scrum-half and deputy captain got a nasty elbow injury early in the game, which would keep him out of first-team action for two months.

Alastair Brindle, a prop forward, played in the hooking slot, a situation he covered on occasions to help the club out. He had battled the conditions then, and would have his own personal battle now with pneumonia/coronavirus, a real hero.

Gilfedder, a successful tourist the season before, would be the club’s top goal kicker with 77.

Challinor, in that game, kicked the only drop goal of the season.

Both Challinor and Gilfedder would end their illustrious Warrington careers later that year.

Warrington did not play another game until March 2, when the weather finally relented.

February had been wiped out with further snow and stormy winds.

So a further three league matches, and a first round Challenge Cup tie at home to Doncaster, had to be rearranged.

At the start of the season the last league fixture on the calendar for Warrington for 1962/63 was Wakefield Trinity away on 27 April 27.

After all the rearrangements had been played, the last league game took place at Hull KR on June 1. Summer rugby in a then winter sport!

Stanski and Phil Ball