A NEW Warrington Wolves marker is to be set in the coming weeks.

This is because today, October 26, is the latest date in any year of the Super League era that The Wire have played a 'first class' club match.

Because of Covid-19 and this season being suspended part way through it means Steve Price's men have at least four more matches to play, hopefully six with a concluding appearance in the Grand Final at the KCOM Stadium in Hull on Friday, November 27.

Even playing this late into the year in 2003 was extraordinary, with campaigns generally finishing no later than the second week in October and only then if The Wire featured in the Old Trafford title decider.

But on October 26, 17 years ago, Warrington played what is shown in the record books as their last match at Wilderspool Stadium, hosting the touring New Zealand A side.

Most will always consider that year's final home league game against Wakefield on September 21 as the Wilderspool farewell match, but the international occasion 35 days later takes the official honour.

So Warrington's Super League clash with Salford Red Devils on Friday, and each subsequent match played this year, will set the new milestone.

For the record, here's how Warrington Guardian reported the game between Warrington Wolves and New Zealand A at the time:

Warrington Wolves 28 New Zealand A 26

October 26, 2003, Wilderspool Stadium

JAMIE Durbin will go down in history as having scored the last Warrington Wolves try at Wilderspool Stadium.

Friendlies at Wilderspool against Widnes on Boxing Day and Leigh in January will not count in the records which was why Sunday's tour game was classed as the official last 'first class' match to take place on the 105-year-old ground, and explains why scrum half Durbin holds the last try honour.

It also means that 11 players made their official Wolves debuts, while for Durbin it was his first start, on such a historic occasion and their appearances will all count on the 2003 season's record chart.

Eighteen-year-old Durbin's try was needed to ensure Wolves signed off from Wilderspool with a deserved win courtesy of a young side splashed with a few Super League regulars.

Two Kiwis tries in the last four minutes put a clouded reflection on the scoreline. Both were scored by Tongan 2000 World Cup star and Eastern Tornadoes winger Paul Fisiiahi, who gained the accolade of scoring the last try of the last Wilderspool match.

One more try would have given the Kiwis their first win from three outings of a five-match tour but that would not have been deserved. Not only did they make too many mistakes but also they only came strong in the final 20 minutes as Wolves tired, which was to be expected as the vast majority of the Warrington players had not been on a rugby field since September.

If this New Zealand rugby team's performance was truly representative of the national competition in their country then the standard there is disappointing.

As an occasion, to say farewell to Wilderspool, it was an anti-climax.

The match and the atmosphere did not live up to the dizzy heights of the last Super League match there against Wakefield on September 21.

The turnout of 3,409 supporters was not surprising though considering the few household names on the field and the Super League prices being charged by the club at the turnstiles.

The biggest plus for Wolves was seeing their under 21s and under 18s stars gain reward for outstanding seasons at their level by making their first team debuts and performing well.

And they were led by strong pack work by skipper for the day Darren Burns, Warren Stevens and Paul Noone, plus hard-working stand off Gary Hulse, who won the Cec Mountford Medal as the man of the match. New Zealander Mountford coached Warrington through their best era of the 1950s.

Wolves' try scorers before Durbin's final touch down in the 54th minute were Mike Govin, Steve Warburton, Nick Owen and Tommy Grundy. Owen landed four conversions.

New Zealand's other tries were scored by Vila Apu'ula, Lance Poka and Jonny Limmer. Steve Buckingham kicked three goals.

Wolves (including ages and previous clubs of players making their debuts): Nick Owen (18, Woolston Rovers); Richard Varkulis (20, Leigh Miners), Steve Warburton (21, Woolston), Ben Westwood, Phil Berry (17, Crosfields); Gary Hulse, Jamie Durbin (18, Halton Hornets); Warren Stevens, Shane Williams (20, Woolston Rovers), Danny Heaton (22, Woolston Rovers), Darren Burns, Paul Noone, Mike Govin (18, Leigh Miners). Subs: Dave Pennington (19, Crosfields), Dave Saxton (18, Woolston Rovers), Tommy Grundy (18, Leigh Miners), Matty Wilson (17, Woolston Rovers).

New Zealand A: Luise Sione; Vila Apu'ula, Ricky Henry, Paul Fisiiahi; Aoterangi Herangi, Steve Buckingham; George Tuakura, Shane Beyers, Sinave Faitala, Jesse Royal, Lance Poka, Karl Edmondson. Subs: Jonny Limmer, Hame Lauaki, Wayne McDade, Taylor Pelenise.

Warrington's all-time record at Wilderspool:

......P W D L F A

League games P1,465 W1,085 D60 L320 F25,749 A13,118

Super League P104 W54 D4 L46 F2,744 A2,539

Championship play-offs P15 W13 D0 L2 F203 A112

War Emergency League P22 W17 D1 L4 F372 A149

Western Division P8 W7 D0 L1 F191 A70

Lancs Summer Comp P1 W0 D1 L0 F12 A12

Challenge Cup P133 W100 D7 L26 F2,565 A945

Lancashire Cup P83 W56 D2 L25 F1,513 A811

Player's No6/Regal Trophy P42 W32 D1 L9 F914 A499

BBC2 Floodlit Trophy P12 W6 D1 L5 F190 A137

Premiership Trophy P9 W4 D1 L4 F127 A132

Club Championship P3 W3 D0 L0 F61 A28

World Club Challenge P3 W0 D0 L3 F62 A148

South West Lancs Lge P4 W3 D1 L0 F40 A13

South West Lancs Cup P2 W2 D0 L0 F26 A12

Captain Morgan Trophy P1 W1 D0 L0 F15 A7

Tour matches v Australia P16 W8 D1 L7 F191 A270

Tour matches v New Zealand P9 W6 D0 L3 F107 A95

Tour match v Auckland P1 W0 D0 L1 F16 A22

Tour match v France P1 W0 D0 L1 F6 A29

Tour match v New Zealand A P1 W1 D0 L0 F28 A26

Grand totals P1,935 W1,398 D80 L457 F35,132 A19,174

These statistics have been compiled by Stan Lewandowski and Gary Slater using the results collated by members of the Rugby League Record-Keepers' Club, notably Ernie Day