Wednesday, January 18, 2006

History of Wigan Rugby League Club

Wigan Warriors Rugby League Football Club is one of the most famous and successful sports club’s in the world. The club has grown from humble beginnings into one of the giants of British sport.
The town’s first rugby club was Wigan F.C. founded in 1872 by a group of members of the town’s Cricket Club. Wigan FC played on Folly Field, near Upper Dicconson Street. Until financial problems and an inability to recruit quality players led to a merger with Up Holland F.C. and the creation of a new club Wigan and District F.C. The new club played its home games at the then Wigan Cricket Club, in Prescott Street. Eighteen months later however and this initial foray into the world of rugby was over and the club disbanded.
In 1879 a new club Wigan Wasps was formed following a meeting in the Dicconson Arms. This new rugby club evolved into the current Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club we now know today.
The club initially played in blue and white hooped jerseys before changing in 1886 to the now famous ‘Cherry and White’ hoops that are synonymous with the club today.
In 1895 the Wigan club became founder members of the Northern Union following the breakaway from the Rugby Union.
On 6 September 1902 the club played at its new purpose built ground Central Park for the first time against Batley in the opening match of the Northern Union’s newly formed First Division. An estimated crowd of 9,000 spectators saw Wigan beat Batley by 14 points to 8.
The tenure at Central Park lasted until 1999 when the curtain fell on the famous old stadium after a pulsating final clash between Wigan and arch rivals St Helens.
In between those years, the Cherry and Whites brought plenty of silverware back to Central Park, including 1 Grand Final Trophy, 17 League Championships, the Challenge Cup on many occasions including a record beating eight consecutive times between 1988 and 1995, 20 Lancashire Cups and a plethora of other titles including 3 World Championship wins.
The first of those World Club Championship successes came in 1987, when Australian club side Manly came to Central Park and were defeated 8-4 in a thriller in front of a crowd of over 38,000.
Other proud moments include a win by Great Britain in the 1992 test Series over Australia, when a pack of forwards made up entirely of Wigan stars pounded the Aussies into submission in Melbourne.
But ask any current player the best moment in a Wigan shirt and chances are that the answer will be the 1994 World Club Championship success, when Wigan beat Brisbane against all the odds at the ANZ Stadium in Australia.
Wigan now grace the JJB Stadium on a weekly basis and already they have been involved in many matches that have been listed as the best ever in the summer era of Super League. The JJB Stadium and rugby league seems like a perfect match.

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