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Wire Memories.


Teessidewire
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Thought I'd just dip my toe in the water and start a new thread. I've watched Wire since being a small boy in 1966 (first game v Cas, 1st Round RL cup, won 15-7), and I've got some great and some really bad memories. I was there for the 50-0 trouncing at home to Salford. It was probably the best thing that could happen at the time as it was the last straw for a lot of fans and was the catalyst for the Ossie Davies takeover and the Murphy era. Wembley in 1974 was fantastic (the Greyhound Pub is the only place I've seen where the Gents had a deep and a shallow end), but one of my best memories was in 1971-72 when we drew a RL Cup second round match at Cas 8-8, with Murph sent off for breaking Cas fullback, Derek Edwards' jaw. The replay was on a wednesday at Wilderspool. The country was in the middle of a fuel dispute and floodlights were banned. So kids all over the town were either going to have to wag school or miss the match.

At this time I was in the 5th form at Appleton Grammar School and 3 of us decided that we couldn't possibly miss the game regardless of the consequences. Myself, a lad called Malcolm Bailey (who lived in Walton Heath Road and now lives in Wigan), and Mark Leicester (who was later well known in local football and was unfortunately killed in an accident ome years ago) all set off to school as normal, but met under London Bridge. We waited until after 9.00am, then went back to my house at 17, Orchard St, Stockton Heath, where we played Monopoly all morning, then set off on foot to the match.

Wilderspool was packed out and we were in the Fletcher End to watch the Wire win. What we didn't know was that the sixth form had been given the afternoon off (it was games afternoon) to watch the match, and our PE teacher, Wyn Dicken, had seen us in the crowd.

I got home after the game, changed back into my school uniform, popped to my sister's and persuaded her to write me a note for school and then went back home for my tea. Unfortunately I'd left the match programme out and my mum found it, resulting in a really hard slap around the back of the head.

Worse was to come. Next morning the 3 of us spent a good bit of time in Dennis Power's Office (Headmaster) at school. Pretty deep trouble at the time, but well worth it.

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Good stuff!

My schoolboy memories of Wilderspool started in 77-78 and the greatest match for me was the night we became the first club side to beat the touring Aussie Invincibles, despite missing key players through injury.

I can remember being at the back of the Fletcher End with the Fletcher Enders singing their hearts out.

Must have been 16,000 packed into the ground that night.

Another great occasion was when we beat Widnes 6-0 in the Challenge cup quarter Final around the same time with three Hesford goals.

There was bedlam arounds town after the game with Warrington and Widnes fans legging each other all over the place.

One of my school mates got caught up in it all and was collared by the police who put him in the back of a van - but let him out when he started crying! :oops:

Living in Croft we used to catch the bus into town for most games.

On our away days you had to take your life in your hands catching the bus into Leigh - as once the other side of Culcheth the Leigh lads used to get on the same bus - one time a guy got on with a hammer - my Warrington scarf quickly disappeared! :shock:

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Gary. I missed the Aussie game as I had just got married and moved to Teesside. In those days it took a long time to get home, whereas now I can do the trip in just under 2 hours and invariably spend the night at my sister's house in Stockton Heath. In the early to mid seventies I used to love going to Central Park where most of our big semi finals and finals were held. Do you remember the 'Mark Thomas' semi-final in 1990, and the John Player at Leeds in 1991?

In the 1991 game Stockton RUFC were playing at Lymm in a game that, if they won, would ensure they were promoted to North Div 1. I was heavily involved in Stockton at the time and I had a big choice to make. Did I watch the game at Lymm, or did I go to Leeds? The players had come over on the Friday night and had arranged to have a training session at Warrington RUFC (where I played when living at home), on Bridge Lane. I came over with a friend, watched the training session, then went with my family to Leeds to watch us beat Bradford. On the way back my brother-in-law dropped me off at Lymm Rugby Club. Stockton had won and what a night we had. Lymm RUFC was literally drunk dry, followed by first a beam diving competition (you dive full length off a ceiling beam and hope that 6 mates will catch you), closely followed by naked beam diving! Top memories.

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Gary.Do you remember the 'Mark Thomas' semi-final in 1990, and the John Player at Leeds in 1991?

In the 1991 game Stockton RUFC were playing at Lymm in a game that, if they won, would ensure they were promoted to North Div 1. I was heavily involved in Stockton at the time and I had a big choice to make. Did I watch the game at Lymm, or did I go to Leeds? The players had come over on the Friday night and had arranged to have a training session at Warrington RUFC (where I played when living at home), on Bridge Lane. I came over with a friend, watched the training session, then went with my family to Leeds to watch us beat Bradford. On the way back my brother-in-law dropped me off at Lymm Rugby Club. Stockton had won and what a night we had. Lymm RUFC was literally drunk dry, followed by first a beam diving competition (you dive full length off a ceiling beam and hope that 6 mates will catch you), closely followed by naked beam diving! Top memories.

 

I certainly do - I remember seven of us squeezing itno one of those old Citreon deck chair cars and making our way to Central Park via a pub or two and going bonkers as Fozzie and Thomas took us to Wembley!!!

I also remembver the John Player tie at Leed which was another great occasion.

You may also be interested to know that your old friends from Lymm have just won promotion from the 1st Division North!

http://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/articles/7767/1/Lymm-clinch-title-at-last/Page1.html

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I bet you whippersnappers didn't get Brian Bevan's autograph every home game on the programme..I did. A neat little BBevan. How I now wish I'd looked after them, just can't remember what happened to them.

I was once in a Chinese restaurant in Wigan at 1am when one of our first team prop fowards walked in with a bird on each arm...He was a character...A public shoolboy no less and talked awfully posh. We were playing at Salford the same day...I doubt he was sober when the game kicked off.

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The home trouncing we received from Salford just touched another memory nerve although I seem to remember it was 40-0 not 50-0. Ken Parr was in the second row that day and had a right stinker, dropping the ball and when he wasn't dropping it he was passing it to nobody in particular. I was really looking forward to taking the mickey out of him for I knew I would see him that night in his local pub in Earlestown(Charlie Owens). Anyway, in he walked with his missus and before we could commence the fun his misssus piped up *Don't you go making fun of my Ken, it wasn't his fault that those no-goods weren't in the position they were supposed to be in when he passed the ball* I've not seen him for years but he was a really nice bloke and his missus was fiercely protective of him. In the same pub referee Billy Thompson used to drop in after he refereed in the area before going back to the darkside...Yorkshire. One night he told me about the time he sent Syd Hynes off at Wembley after he supposedly knocked Alex Murphy out. He said before kick off that he visited both teams dressing rooms and told them nobody had ever been sent off at Wembley but Billy Thompson had never refereed at Wembley(strange how he talked of himself in the third person). He was obviously determined he was going to make a small piece of history for himself. If I'm totally honest he wasn't such a nice person and I tried to avoid him when he visited.

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There is always a boring old fogey butting in, but as it's about the Wire rather than the Wolves.......

 

The Wigan team after the war was awesome and played the best rugby (against slower opponents) that I have ever seen. They consistently beat Warrington and the longing to beat them was far greater than the St Helens hoodoo today.

 

I remember them beating us in the mud and the next time we played them at Wilderspool we had a much stronger team, with 30,000 turning up on a beautiful day. Hope was very high. Warrington 0 - Wigan 38. ( a try was the 3 points).

 

That score is embedded in my memory, as is the 17-0 we eventually beat them, with Harold Palin shining, if my memory is correct.

 

We'll beat St Helens one day. History always repeats itself.

 

Happy days

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Well, I was born to an incredibly fiery woman. Sometimes my Dad took me out just to get some peace.

 

One day my Dad and my cousin's husband took me (out of the way) with them to the rugby match at Wilderspool.

 

All I can remember, at my size, was lots of 'big bellies' running past at eye level and it being a special day.

 

I made my rugby 'debut' at Brian Bevan's last match at Warrington.

 

I remember walking up the Causeway and down Lousher's Lane on our way home to Latchford.

 

I've loved the Wire ever since.

 

 

 

:D:D:D

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Safeway, it was definately 50-0. The next week we went to Leeds and I watched it on TV. That was treated as a moral victory as we lost 48-8. Dave Cotton Jnr made his debut that day, as did Colin Standing, a Welshman who we signed from Wigan in exchange for Jackie Melling. He only played half a game for us and was never seen again. Bad days. I looked a few bits up on the Official Site yesterday and we finished 22nd that season with an average gate of just over 2900.

When I fist started watching we had a shop on Walton Road, Stockton Heath, at the junction with Whitefield Road (it's long gone now). I used to run all the way to Wilderspool, sidestepping the lamp posts all the way there. It was 9d (4p in todays money), for kids, and 3 shillings (15p) for adults. Programmes were 3d.

Last year in Scarborough I went into a Junk Shop and found a programme for the 1965 match, Wire v New Zealand. I bought it for ?3. I'll have a look for it in the next few days and post the team for that day on this Site. Some good adverts in that programme, including Wardonia Blades. Remember the Wardonia Cup?

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I remember the Ward Cup very well...annual New Years Day charity friendly fixture which was always a blood and guts affair and anything but friendly. It was in the days when New Years Day wasn't a bank holiday but I always pulled a sickie that day along with thousands of others. I was at Newton Tech at the same time as Dave Cotton Jr but he seemed to be too sort of quiet and nice to make a RL player although he did well for himself to a certain extent.He was built like a brick outhouse when he was 15 years old. I was also in the same class at junior school with Kevin Ashcroft and he was a totally different character. Extremely short tempered and a talented junior boxer with the Sea Cadets. He was best mates with the great Alex Murphy and the pair of them live in Leigh. I believe Alex now has a young daughter and he's 70 years old this year !! There's hope for us all.

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Good stuff!

My schoolboy memories of Wilderspool started in 77-78 and the greatest match for me was the night we became the first club side to beat the touring Aussie Invincibles, despite missing key players through injury.

 

Didn't wire beat the aussie tourists in 1908?

 

And they weren't known as the 'Invincibles' until 1982 when they won every match.

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I too was in the Fletcher Steet end for that game and not wanting to spoil the flavour of anybody's chips it must be pointed out that the Oz team which was defeated was the tourists *mid-week* team and the game was won at the death by a try which legend has it was a touch down well over the dead ball line. Having said that any one of the Aussies on show that night would walk into any present Superleague team. Ken Irvine played and he's still the fastest winger I ever saw. Sadly he died young some years ago.

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I too was in the Fletcher Steet end for that game and not wanting to spoil the flavour of anybody's chips it must be pointed out that the Oz team which was defeated was the tourists *mid-week* team and the game was won at the death by a try which legend has it was a touch down well over the dead ball line. Having said that any one of the Aussies on show that night would walk into any present Superleague team. Ken Irvine played and he's still the fastest winger I ever saw. Sadly he died young some years ago.

 

Please don't sour the memories of a sweet innocent 13 year-old schoolboy! :roll::wink:

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Can anyone else remember the old guy in the Bowler Hat with the 'Beware your sins will find you out' Sandwich Board? He and his wife and a couple of others always used to turn up on match day on Priory St in an old VW Camper Van. He was at every home game for years and I think he started when we switched to Sunday Rugby. I always used to wonder if he put his board in the van at 3.00pm and then went in the Fletch, cussing and swearing with the rest of us.

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Can anyone else remember the old guy in the Bowler Hat with the 'Beware your sins will find you out' Sandwich Board? He and his wife and a couple of others always used to turn up on match day on Priory St in an old VW Camper Van. He was at every home game for years and I think he started when we switched to Sunday Rugby. I always used to wonder if he put his board in the van at 3.00pm and then went in the Fletch, cussing and swearing with the rest of us.

 

Dare I say it, I remember him and my Dad and a few others always had a few choice words to say back at him.....all in good fun mind. :D

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My memory is fading with the advancing old age. I was definitely at the match when we beat the Aussies but Ken Irvine couldn't have played because the match I saw him play saw him score a miracle try from long range and Bobby Greenough, who was no slouch himself, tried to cover tackle him but Irvine beat him for speed with ease. It was in the 60's.

When I said Irvine was the fastest player I ever saw it couldn't have been an exaggeration for he clocked 9.3 seconds for the hundred yards. He died in 1991 aged 50 from leukaemia.

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Safeway, I have a book in front of me called The Encyclopedia of Rugby League Players (2002). It lists all Australian players since the game began.

Ken Irvine played for Norths from 1958-1970, and then Manly from 1971-1973. He made 31 Test appearances and made 3 Kangaroo tours (59-60, 63-64, and 67-68). At one time in the early 1960's he held the World Professional 100 yards record (9.3secs) and even took on a racehorse, the horse won.

He died of leukaemia in 1991, aged 50.

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The Preacher Man in Fletcher Street (and his missus) preached at the little chapel by the Lymm Services roundabout which is now offices. After that memorable win over the Aussies I went with my son over to the Wilderspool Leisure Centre and an Aussie journalist said if son wanted to get the Aussie Team's autographs he should send his book to the team hotel in Leeds (the Dragonora) - he did but never saw the book again. The Aussies left staright after the defeat and turned down a post match dinner. Hurts me to recall that only other club team to beat them on that tour was Widnes!.

 

On a sad note, I see in my paper today Bryn Knowlden has died aged 90 - a great left centre to Albert Johnson in the 47/48 Champiomship winning side - my first season watching the Wires and a packed town hall lawn for the Sat night home coming after Maine Road win over Bradford Northern.

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  • 9 years later...

Just a memory from me who was a young truck driver aged 22 years in 1974. During that time I used to stay in a Truck drivers bed and breakfast just around the corner of the leisure centre. I stayed there every Thursday for 2 years. It wasn’t a great place to stay but it did the job. I recall a fish and chip shop next to the leisure centre that sold curry sauce which was a thing Not many Southern chip shops did at that time. I also recall a disco on some of the Thursdays at the leisure centre. 

My main memory was when Warrington won the Rugby League Cup in 1974. At that time I played Rugby Union in my home town of St. Albans, but paid attention to Warrington playing rugby league and their success. I met a few first team players when there and remember a Blonde Welshman who had changed from Union to League. A big muscular man ! 

After Warrington won the cup , perhaps a week or so later , one Thursday evening the team met to watch the match in an upstairs room. I was invited to join them, where we sank a few beers. It was a great night . Great memories.

On the Friday morning I used to set off to my next drop off,  which was at a cooker makers, possibly Stoves on the way to Liverpool. 

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