contact rugby oldham

Oldham was the first Lancashire club to lift the Challenge Cup when, in 1899, they beat Hunslet in the final held at Fallowfield, Manchester.

Books 'n All

We regularly receive enquiries about books for purchase or reference that include information surrounding Oldham RLFC. Here is a list which we think will be of interest.

NB. The Internet is also a source for obtaining any of the above publications. Those that are out of print are regularly available on both Ebay and Amazon







Watersheddings MemoriesWatersheddings Memories, the latest book from the Heritage trust is a magnificent collection of greyscale photographs and images all of which are centred in and around the famous old ground that was for so long the home of Oldham Rugby League Club.

As you would expect there are many fantastic photographs of rugby league action but that is not all. The ‘sheddings was also witness to lots of other activities. Did you know, for instance, that international soccer stars Tom Finney, Bill Shankly, Stan Mortensen and Jack Rowley played there and that an England women’s soccer side took on the French? That Great Britain rugby league hard man Don Vines wrestled the Outlaw and that famous league stars Jim Sullivan and Gus Risman played pro baseball in the stadium?

But, first and foremost, Watersheddings was famous for being the home of Oldham Rugby League Football Club and for over a century was graced by the most famous players of the sport, both professional and amateur. Thousands of us, some scattered to the four corners of the earth, will each cherish our own memories, whether it might be a packed to the rafters, thrill-a-minute Tuesday night cup replay or queuing at half-time for a plastic cup of lukewarm coffee in the driving rain.

Authors: Steve Brown, Mick Harrop, Michael Turner & Brian Walker



A full and comprehensive account of all the matches Oldham RLFC have played against the international touring teams of Australia and New Zealand. Complimented throughout by a vast collection of fabulous images many published for the first time.

From the visit of the New Zealand Maoris in 1889 right up to the Roughyeds  playing a Manly district team in 2003.

Published in 2007 by the Oldham RL Heritage Trust.

Available to buy (click onto Merchandise). Copies in all Oldham MBC branch libraries or the Local Interest Centre, Union St, Oldham.


OLDHAM RLFC The Complete History (1876-1997) by Michael Turner

When first published in 1997 this well illustrated book raised the bar in the way rugby league club history was presented. 397 A4 pages which includes details of every player that has played at first team level between 1896 and 1997 as well as results, scorers and the line-up of every first team match home and away. International and county representatives are listed, as are club records. Reports on important matches and star player profiles covered.








Published by the Heritage Trust in 2004, this full-colour 472 pictorial history of Oldham RLFC is out of print but copies for loan or reference are available in all Oldham MBC branch libraries as well as in the Local Interest Centre, Union St, Oldham. The book tracks the history of the Oldham club on a season-by-season basis from 1876 through to 2004. Over 1,000 images.

Soft back



OLDHAM RLFC by Brian Walker


Written on behalf of the Heritage Trust this book was published by Tempus Publishing Ltd in July 2005. In the well-tested Tempus format, the book tracks the history of the Oldham club between 1876 and 2005.

Out of print but available in all Oldham MBC branch libraries as well as in the Local Interest Centre, Union Street, Oldham.




Heading For The Line By Michael Miles


This fine book by Michael Miles includes details of every ground in the Rugby League including Whitebank covering how to get there, food availability, crowd capacity (given as 1,000 for Whitebank), admission prices and much more. Ray French writes a fascinating foreword including his amusing recollections surrounding Watersheddings!

Over the past few years, there have been many changes for rugby league supporters travelling to away matches and visiting new grounds. Some of the game’s historic venues, such as Knowsley Road, Wilderspool and The Willows, are no longer in use. Gleaming new stadiums have sprung up in their place. And some new clubs have joined the professional game. There are also new venues for international matches.

This book aims to provide information for supporters visiting new grounds and old favourites. It includes:

… and much more.

Foreword by Ray French MBE

Essential reading for every Rugby League fan

urther information or for a review copy: Phone Peter Lush on 07973-845285 (not for publication) or email

Information about the book:
ISBN:  9781903659670; Price: £7.95 (paperback); 120 pages, illustrated with photographs.
The book is available at a special offer price of £7.50 post free from London League Publications Ltd, PO Box 65784, London NW2 9NS (credit card orders via, or can be ordered from any bookshop at £7.95.

p/p LLP PO Box 65784, London NW2 9NS


Balls, Gloves and Glory By Eric Chisnall & Andrew Quirke

Recently publshed ‘Balls, Gloves and Glory’ is the biography of the four Chisnall brothers, three of whom (Eric, Dave and Les) lifted the Challenge Cup with St Helens, Warrington and Leigh while the fourth, Dave, became a successful boxer.

A family feat such as this is hardly likely to be repeated. The publshers were approached by ‘Genes Reunited’ (a genealogy website) who asked if they could make a short film about the brothers to highlight the siblings’ sporting excellence. The film featuring the surviving brothers, Eric and Les, is now complete and available to view on Youtube. The link for the video is:

The video is a fascinating extra to the story, showing the Chisnall brothers’ rise to rugby league excellence from humble beginnings.



In full Bloem Jamie Bloem – Rugby Footballer

In Full Bloem

By Andrew Hardcastle

From being a young South African rugby union player, Jamie Bloem developed into a star rugby league player. From 1992 to 2005 he played every position on the field in a career that took in Castleford, Oldham, Doncaster, Widnes and Huddersfield, but primarily Halifax. He later became a coach, commentator and Grade 1 referee.

He was never far from the headlines, be it for drug taking, an accusation of biting Lee Briers, charges of abusing referees, declining pay cuts, or even sometimes for scoring spectacular tries or kicking touchline goals.

In this authorised biography, he lifts the lid on everything that has happened to him, giving a frank account of when he was in the wrong and when he was not.

Andrew Hardcastle has had a lifelong association with Halifax RLFC, where he is club historian and timekeeper. He has written widely about the game.




The Indomitables - The 1946 Rugby League Lions tour
to Australia and New Zealand

The 1946 Rugby League Lions tour to Australia and New Zealand is a remarkable story. It marked the relaunch of international rugby league in a world still devastated by the Second World War. It was also a great success for the Lions, as they won the Ashes and were the first team to be unbeaten in an Ashes series, despite an infamous sending-off in the first test.

The players travelled to Australia on the Aircraft Carrier HMS Indomitable. They faced a gruelling schedule, playing 20 games in Australia in two months, and a further seven in New Zealand.

This is the full story of one of the greatest Rugby League Lions tours ever. The touring party included some great British players, including Gus Risman, Tommy McCue, Eric Batten, Ernest Ward, Ike Owens, Joe Egan, Trevor Foster, Willie Horne, Willie Davies, Martin Ryan, Ken Gee and Doug Phillips.

Based on extensive research and including fascinating photos and recollections from the players, this book will be of interest to all rugby league fans.

Includes Doug Phillips tour diary.

Colin Thomson is a lifelong rugby league fan. Originally from Bradford, he now lives in South Wales.

About the book:
Publication date: May 2009                                ISBN: 9781903659-44-1
Price: £12.95                                                   Paperback                   
168 pages                                                       Well illustrated with photographs

For further information, contact Peter Lush on 0845-230-1895 or 07973-845285.

To order the book, please email: or phone or fax 0845-230-1895.
The book can also be ordered from Gardners or Bertrams, or most other wholesalers.
All our books in print can be viewed at our website:


The King of Brilliance: James Lomas – A Rugby League Superstar

Born in the west Cumbrian town of Maryport, James ‘Jimmy’ Lomas was one of the Northern Union’s earliest stars. Its first tour captain in 1910, one journalist claimed that ‘when Lomas was on the field you never noticed anybody else.’ Playing at stand-off or centre, he was a prolific point scorer, his career total of 2,312 constituting a record for the code at the time of his retirement in 1923. Following a world record transfer to Oldham in 1911 he enjoyed his finest hour with an outstanding performance in that year’s Championship Final win over Wigan. His incredible story is told in The King of Brilliance, a 262-page hard back containing almost 40 photographs (including front cover action of Lomas playing for Oldham) and full career statistics.

It is available at £16.95, ISBN 978-1-903659-57-1, and can be ordered from LLP, PO Box 65784, London NW2 9NS, or via



A Touch ofClasscharts former Oldham coach Frank Myler’s playing career from Widnes through to Rochdale Hornets via three Lion’s tours moving on to his time as Oldham’s coach.

Available via all good bookshops or purchase direct ISBN 978-1-904091-39-4  £13-99







A comprehensive account of the first ever rugby league tour to Australia and New Zealand in 1910. This first Lions tour played a crucial part in making rugby league a truly international sport. It helped establish the game as the leading football code in New South Wales and Queensland - and, they brought home the Ashes! Oldham fans will be fascinated to read about the exploits of Roughyeds’ forward Bert Avery and the unravelling of the mystery surrounding fellow forward and club colleague Tom Helm in to why he never played in a match on tour.

Available from stock or to order from all good bookshops at £12-95 ISBN 978-1-903659-51-9 or visit to order on line.





100 years of test match rugby league.

Written by acclaimed rugby league historian, Robert Gate this hard backed publication presents the complete and only record of every test match played by Great Britain which is supported by 200 photographs and illustrations. In 2007 the Rugby Football League decided to abandon Great Britain as a flagship representative side. The book captures the spirit of the players in the red, white and blue and provided the definitive record of the national team through its entire 100 years of existence.

Many former Oldham test players are mentioned.

Visit to purchase.



THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES. Crossing the Colour Line in Rugby League. Editors: Phil Melling & Tony Collins

The story behind 16 coloured rugby league players with a forward written by Billy Boston. There are two former Oldham players included, (both Welshmen), Alex Givvons, written by Michael Turner and Clive Sullivan, written by Bev Risman.

ISBN 1-904091-07-5. Hardback. Published 2004. £15-99. Stocked by Oldham Evening Chronicle or to order at any good bookshop




The story of 13 rugby league players all of whom lost their life in military action. Two of those featured are Oldham forwards William Nanson and Billy Jardine who were both killed during the First World War.

Published 2005. Soft back. Send cheque for £7-95 payable to Tom Mather, 20, Chandlers Rest, Lytham, FY8 5AL.




BARRIE McDERMOTT---MADE FOR RUGBY by Barrie McDermott and Peter Smith

Well-written biography of the firebrand Oldham, Wigan, Leeds and Great Britain, Oldham born forward.

ISBN 0 283 07376 4. Hard back. Published 2004. £17-99 orderable at all good bookshops.






IESTYN HARRIS---There and Back by Iestyn Harris

Well-written autobiography of the Oldham born half-back.

ISBN 1 84596 001 7. Hard back. Published 2005. £15-99 orderable at all good bookshops.






ALL THE WRONG MOVES by Terry Clawson

Humorous autobiography by this well travelled former Oldham and Great Britain forward.

ISBN 1 901380 06 8. Soft back. Published circa 2000. £9-99.





THE QUIET MAN by Chris Joynt

Autobiography of the former Oldham and Great Britain forward.

Available from the Oldham Evening Chronicle or orderable from all good bookshops. Hard back.





GONE NORTH Vol. 1 by Robert Gate

The story of the exodus of Welsh rugby union players from the Principality. Bill McCutcheon and David Gwynn both played rugby union for Wales whilst at Watersheddings. The ex Swansea pair were two of the brightest Welsh stars that moved north seeking fame and fortune. That was back in the late 1880’s. Since then dozens of Welshmen have donned the red and white hooped shirt.




THE STRUGGLE FOR THE ASHES (second edition) by Robert Gate

The author covers every test match played between the ‘old enemies’ between 1908 and 1994. From when Oldham winger George Tyson scored the ‘ashes’ winning try at Villa Park, Birmingham in 1909 right through to prop-forward Hugh Waddell who starred for the Lions when they singed the Kangaroos tails in Sydney in 1988.








The autobiography of Oldham threequarter John Etty who starred in the famous 1950’s team. Written circa 1996.

Out of print but a copy is available for reference in the Local Interest Centre, Union St, Oldham. Soft back.






Written in 1996 to mark the closure of Watersheddings. Compiled mainly from features written by journalists, historians and former Oldham officials and players including Frank Stirrup, Alan Davies, Andy Goodway, Sid Little, Terry Flanagan, Dennis Ayres, Mike Ford, Martin Murphy, Tony Barrow, John Etty, Dick Cracknell, Ray Hicks, Roger Halstead, Michael Turner, Don Yates, Bob Irving, Brian Walker, Jim Quinn, Sir Rodney Walker, Ray French, Robert Gate, Jack McNamara and Mick Harrop.

Out of print but a copy is available for reference in the Local Interest Centre, Union St, Oldham. Brochure.




Covers every venue used by our professional clubs. A cracking section on Oldham from the time when the club played at Glodwick (way back in 1876), through to last season when it held a couple of its ‘home games’ at Sedgley Park.

ISBN 1 901 347 14 1. Published 2005. Soft back. Available to order from all good bookshops. £15-99. 0r order from League Publications Tel: 01484 401895.