SAD news has reached us from Australia of the death of former Oldham prop Alan Ogden, who was in his early seventies and had been suffering from Alzheimers for a few years.

Local lad Alan, a strong front-row forward with a good pair of hands and a good footballer, emigrated to Perth, Western Australia when his playing days were over.

When he signed in 1965 he faced tremendous competition from more experienced props like Ken Wilson, Charlie Bott, Alf Mumberson and later, Danny Gardiner and Geoff Fletcher and actually made his debut in the second row against Castleford on November 23rd 1965. However, it was soon apparent that Alan’s best position was in the front row where he played the vast majority of his appearances in the Oldham first team.

After 63 games for his home-town club, he was transferred to Leigh for £5,000 in 1971.

The sincere condolences of everyone at the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust are sent out to the Ogden family.

Alan Ogden.jpg




The Heritage Trust is sad to report the death in Hertfordshire of former Oldham loose-forward David Parker, who was club captain in the mid-1960s.

Born in Barrow, G D (George David) Parker made 198 appearances for Roughyeds, scoring 34 tries, during his time at Watersheddings which spanned the seven years from 1960 to 1967.

He came to the Manchester area from Barrow to study at Manchester University and it was while he was excelling for Manchester RU Club, and earning a place in the Lancashire County XV, that he came to the notice of Oldham RLFC.

He turned pro and signed for Oldham in August, 1960, making himself a reputation as a stylish loose-forward with pace, handling skills and a superb defensive game.

He captained Roughyeds, gained county honours and represented Great Britain in two Tests against France in 1964.

Outside rugby, he was in the senior management team at Platt Brothers, who in those days were one of the biggest employers in the town.

In his book, ‘Oldham RLFC, 1876 to 1997’ Mike Turner wrote of Parker:

"A recurrence of a knee injury in the first match of the 1967-68 season against Liverpool City ended the career of one of the most stylish forwards ever to play for the club. He was an excellent defender and also posessed a good turn of speed with superb handling skills."

The sincere condolences of the Oldham Rugby League community are extended to the Parker family.

David Parker.jpg




Roger joined Oldham from the Spotland Rangers amateur club in 1972.

A hooker, he spent his first few seasons at Watersheddings in the shadow of Kevin Taylor who was the regular Watersheddings number nine for more than a decade During his spell in the Oldham ‘A’ team, Roger was in the side that won the Lancashire Shield against Salford in 1976.

From then on Roger had an extended spell in the senior side and amassed a total of 122 appearances, scoring nine tries and four drop goals. Included in the appearance total was being an ‘ever-present’ in 1977-78 when he played in all 33 matches.

A popular player on and off the field, Roger joined Warrington after impressing in a trial period in September 1982.

The condolences of everyone at the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust go to the O’Mahoney family.





The sincere condolences of everyone at the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust are extended to the family of former Roughyeds winger Billy Patterson, who has died at his home in Bredbury.

Billy played 72 senior games for Oldham between 1960 and 1965, mostly on the wing but occasionally at full-back.

Oldham-born, Billy will be remembered fondly by older supporters as a brave-hearted player who never let his lack of weight stop him from giving 100% effort in the Roughyeds’ cause.

He scored 29 tries and kicked 12 goals for a total of 111 points.



2ND JUNE 2018


The Heritage Trust is sad to report the death of ex Roughyed Eric Fitzsimons who passed away on June 2nd.

Eric played 46 matches for Oldham between 1978 and 1981 almost all of them on the left wing. In these games he scored 11 tries and kicked 127 goals. 108 of those came in the 1979-80 season.

He also had a successful spell at Hunslet where he still holds the scoring records for points in a season, goals in a career and points in a career since the club was reformed in 1974.

Before taking up rugby league and playing for Oldham and Hunslet, Eric played football for Bury, Oldham Athletic, Hyde United and Bradford Park Avenue.

Eric returned to be the head coach at Watersheddings and led the Roughyeds to promotion and that never to be forgotten 2nd Division premiership final victory over Featherstone Rovers at Old Trafford in 1988.



31ST MAY 2018


The Death has been announced on May 31st of York-born Colin Forsyth, who had a brief career with Oldham after signing as a 17 year old in 1964.

A prop forward, Colin went on to have a distinguished career with Bradford Northern, Featherstone Rovers, York and Wakefield Trinity. He was a product of the Heworth amateur club.



10th NOVEMBER 2017


All Oldham Rugby League supporters and fans of the game in general will be saddened to learn of the death of former Watersheddings forward Geoff Fletcher at the age of 74.

Geoff made 111 appearances for the Roughyeds between 1965 and 1969 as an uncompromising forward who was also gifted with excellent ball playing skills. He came to Oldham from Leigh as a second-row or loose-forward but soon moved up to prop. A natural leader he became club captain was soon a firm favourite with the Oldham supporters. Successive stand-off halves, Tommy Warburton and Wilf Briggs benefited from Geoff’s distribution skills with many tries for the Roughyeds as did speedy second-row forward, Bob Irving.

He played in Oldham's Lancashire Cup finals of 1966 and 1968 being the captain in the latter against St Helens in the 1968 final at Central Park, Wigan when he was forced to retire at half-time with a broken arm. The following year he left to sign for Wigan. In all, he had three spells at Leigh and another at Workington before ending up at Huyton, where he was to stay for many years and where he became the man who kept that club going in its various guises as Huyton, Runcorn Highfield, Highfield and Prescott Panthers. He was player-coach, coach, groundsman and eventually chairman when he put his boots away for the last time after a career of 559 games in total. One of the great characters of the game!

Fletcher Geoff.jpg


29TH AUGUST 2017


The Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust is sad to announce the death ex-Roughyed Dick Bonser on Tuesday 29 th August 2017 at the age of 79.

James Richard Bonser originally signed for Swinton from the Rochdale Rugby Union club and was part of the Lions team that were double champions in the early 1960s. He later had spells at Widnes and Huyton before coming to Oldham in September 1970. Playing at prop or in the second row, he made 39 appearance for the Roughyeds before going back to Rochdale to coach at Mayfield ARLFC. He later went on to serve on the board at Rochdale Hornets and subsequently became club chairman.



27TH JULY 2017


The Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust is sad to report that, Oldham rugby league great Sid Little OBE has died at the age 87.

A native of Kirkbride, Cumberland, but brought up in nearby Burgh-by-Sands, the former RAF pilot joined Oldham during the 1951-52 season, having previously played rugby union for both Harlequins and the Cumberland county side.

On his arrival in Oldham, he and his wife Valerie, the daughter of Oldham's stalwart loose forward and Welsh Rugby Union international Emlyn Watkins, lived in Werneth, before moving to Moorside, where they stayed until Little's position as a company director required a move to the Midlands. A devastating, running second row forward, he formed a tremendous back row partnership with Charlie Winslade in the entertaining Oldham side of the 1950s.

His talents were soon recognised by the rugby league selectors, the pinnacle of his international career was scoring a try against the 1956 touring Australians in the third and final Test at Swinton. This not only equalled the biggest margin of victory for the British against the Kangaroos in an Ashes Test, 19-0, but both sealed the series 2-1 while at the same time regaining the Ashes. This was the commencement of 10 consecutive international appearances for Little, interestingly most of them at prop forward.

He represented Great Britain in the 1957 World Cup played in Australia and in which the British were runners-up to the home side. He also played in four promotional matches under the banner Great Britain XIII against the French. Three of these were played in South Africa and the other in New Zealand.

Including two promotional matches in Australia against Western Australia and Queensland, Little played in a massive 58 competitive matches during the 1957-58 season. Along with his Oldham team-mates Derek Turner, Frank Pitchford, Ken Jackson, and Alan Davies, Sid was then selected for the 1958 tour to Australia, but due to his wife Valerie expecting a family addition, declined the invitation. While at Watersheddings, Little, who also represented Cumberland at rugby league, played 249 times for Oldham scoring 49 tries.

Included in these statistics are the three consecutive Lancashire Cup final victories against in 1956-57-58, the 1957 Championship final against Hull, plus the defeats to Barrow in the 1954 Lancashire Cup final and Warrington in the 1955 Championship final.

The season 1957-58 saw Oldham top the league, winning 33 and drawing one of their 38 league games. Little, a member of the Oldham Rugby League Hall of Fame, also played for the Cumberland county rugby league side on eight occasions.

In December, 1982 he was awarded an OBE for his services to the Air Training Corps, Staffordshire, which he had served since 1970, holding the rank of Wing Commander.

Whenever asked to do so, Little would gladly point his car in the direction of Oldham. Whatever the event, he would lend his support, but understandably the occasions which he enjoyed the most were those which he could share with his colleagues from that glorious era of yesteryear.



8TH APRIL 2017


The local Rugby league fraternity was saddened to learn of the death of Alex Givvons, a leading rugby league referee in the 1970s and 1980s. Alex died in hospital after a short illness. He was 82.

The elder son of an Oldham Rugby League Club legend, Alex Givvons snr., he followed his father’s example by playing rugby league professionally, as a centre or winger, for Halifax, Swinton and Blackpool Borough.

For part of his time at Blackpool, he played centre to the great Brian Bevan, the famous Australian, who was by then in the twilight of his career after serving Warrington for many years as one of the sport’s best-ever wingers.

Before turning pro, Alex played for St Patrick’s, Saddleworth Rangers, Oldham St Anne’s and Oldham Rugby Union clubs.

He was an all-round sportsman, who represented Lancashire at polo; played golf at Crompton and Royton where he was president in 2008; and enjoyed tennis at Manor Tennis Club in Waterhead.

In later life, as a former rugby league referee, he picked up his pen to write a regular article in the Oldham RL Club’s match-day programme, headed ‘Alex Rules OK’.



16TH MARCH 2017


The Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust would like to send sincere condolences to the family of Tony Barrow jnr, who has died in his home town of St Helens after a long illness. He was 45.

Tony signed for the Roughyeds from the famous St Helens amateur club, Thatto Heath, in 1990 when his father Tony Snr. was the Oldham coach. After a brief stint at Watersheddings, playing in the second row or at loose forward, Tony left to join Swinton as part of the deal that brought Scott Ranson to Oldham.

He went on to serve the Lions with distinction for nine years playing in over 240 matches for our near neighbours. This figure represents the most appearances for Swinton by any player in the last forty years.





The rugby league fraternity everywhere, particularly in and around Oldham, will be saddened to learn of the passing of Bill Churm who died on Monday the 4th of February after being taken ill whilst on holiday in Tenerife. He was 74.

A tough, uncompromising and speedy back row forward, he who was brought up in the Egerton St. district of town and as a young player displayed all the attributes required to become a professional. After interest from other clubs including Oldham he was persuaded to turn professional and play his rugby out of town and so, during the 1963-64 season left his amateur club Royton and signed for Warrington.

He made an immediate impact at Wilderspool being a member of their successful ‘A’ team which completed the Lancashire County Challenge Shield and Lancashire Combination double. Bill made his Warrington first team debut in 1964 against Blackpool Borough scoring a hat-trick of tries to send the Seasiders back to the coast smarting after a 31-12 defeat. The Warrington squad included former Oldham favourites Charlie Winslade, Bill Payne, Ray Fisher and Keith Holden plus established Warrington stars such as former Great Britain captain Eric Fraser, Bobby Greenough, Brian Glover, Willie Aspinall and Parry Gordon.

Bill was a substitute for Warrington in the 16-7 defeat by the 1967 touring Australians and again in the replayed 1967 Lancashire Cup final against St. Helens which the ‘Wire’ lost 13-10. His final appearance in the famous primrose and blue strip was in April 1968 against St. Helens in the Top 16 play-off. In all, between 1964 and 1968 he played 37 games for Warrington. In the summer of that year he was transferred to Salford where he was frustrated due to injuries managing to play in only a handful of first team matches. His luck changed when he was approached by Oldham who offered him terms and Salford a nominal fee.

His four seasons at Watersheddings included an exciting period for the club when he joined new team mates including ball playing stand-off Cliff Hill and no nonsense pack-leader Frank Foster resulting in the club ending the 72-73season in ninth position out of thirty the highest place that it had achieved since 1966. Bill’s terrier style of play helped achieve this success and was much appreciated by the Oldham fans. His former Oldham club captain and current President of the ex-players Martin Murphy said of Bill, “We are both redheads and like most redheads we rarely take a backwards step. He always gave 100% both on and off the field. He was a nice bloke”.

In four seasons at Watersheddings 1970 through to 1973 Bill made 51 first team appearances scoring four tries.

After his time with the Oldham club was up Bill returned to the amateur ranks playing in the Oldham Standard Challenge Cup with St. Anne’s at the tender age of 37! At various times he played for several local clubs including Royton and Ferranti. It should also be noted that he gained international recognition when rewarded with a Great Britain amateur cap for his appearance against France. He also turned his hand to coaching and, in an emergency situation, along with Ken Wilson, took charge at Oldham for a short time.

Bill’s passing follows on so close to that of his mate Ray Clark both of whom played together at Warrington and Oldham and were each involved with Saddleworth Rangers later in life.

The funeral is on Friday 10th March, at St. Edward's RC Church, Lees at 10am. followed by committal at 11-30am at Oldham Crematoreum. The celebration of Bill's life will be continued from 12 noon at St. Anne's ARLFC, Higginshaw Rd.





It is with great sadness that the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust learned of the death of former player Ray Clark who passed away on Monday 9 January 2017 at the age of 72.

Ray joined his home town club Warrington as a junior from Monks ARLFC in 1963 and signed for Oldham during season 1968-69 in a deal that took Oldham's loose forward and vice-captain Arthur Hughes to Warrington.
He was a fast and elusive loose or second row forward who was also no stranger to being selected for one of the two wing positions.

He played 95 matches in the Oldham first team scoring 19 tries and in 1971 was selected at loose forward for Lancashire against Yorkshire in a County Championship game at Leigh. The Lancastrians lost 42-22, Clark scoring one of Lancashire's four tries. During his time at Watersheddings his playing colleagues would include the likes of Martin Murphy, Phil Larder, Mike Elliott, Bob Irving, Ken Wilson, Jim Crellin, Kevin Taylor, Joe Collins, Bill Churm, Dennis Maders, Ray Hicks, John Blair, and Norman Hodgkinson.

In June, 1972 Ray was transferred to Huddersfield for a £3,750 fee and later coached Swinton, Rochdale Hornets, Leigh and Mansfield Marksman as well as at several local amateur clubs. Arguably, his highest honour was being selected to coach the 1983 U19 BARLA tour to New Zealand.
On most days, in recent times, he could be found at Saddleworth Rangers' ground in Greenfield





The Heritage Trust was sad to learn of the death of Terry Ramshaw on January 9th 2017.

A rugged Yorkshire born prop-forward, Terry signed for Oldham during season 1975/76 from Hull KR in exchange for what at the time was seen as a bargain £500 fee. He played in 33 first team matches whilst at Watersheddings scoring just the one try, practically all of those games in the front row along with the likes of fellow prop-forwards Brian Hughes, Ray Hicks, Barry Kear, Steve Herbert and Kevin Flanagan.

Along with Ken Wilson and Bill Churm, he shared coaching responsibility on a temporary basis in the 1976/77 season following the un-timely death of the then Oldham coach Jim Challinor. After 33 matches in Oldham's colours Terry left the club to sign for York.

Former clubs include Castleford Juniors ARLFC. Featherstone Rovers, Halifax, Bradford Northern, Wakefield Trinity and Salford. He played one match for his native Yorkshire vs. Lancashire in the 1966/67 County Championship at Headingley which was won 22-17 by Lancashire. Terry played in the1966 Championship final for Halifax who lost 35-12 to St Helens at Station Rd., Swinton and also in the final of the 1973 John Players' competition for Salford who lost 12-7 to Leeds at Fartown, Huddersfield.





The trustees of Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust are sad to record the death of half back Jimmy Chalmers passed away on the 26th of September 2016, aged 94.

A native of Hawick he had represented the South of Scotland against the touring Australian Wallabies and had played 37 first team matches for the Hawick union club before signing for the Watersheddings side in 1947.

He played just 17 matches for the Roughyeds before being struck down with tuberculosis which brought his playing career to a premature end.

The ailing Scotsman was later awarded a benefit resulting in Oldham playing a Rugby League 13 at Watersheddings in 1952. Despite the RL13 being bolstered by two Huddersfield players Frank Dyson and Dick Cracknell, who, in time, would both sign for Oldham, the Roughyeds ran out 18-8 winners.

Jim Chalmers


19TH AUGUST 2016


The trustees of Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust are sad to record the death of former Oldham player and supporter Steve Gartland who passed away on Friday 19th of August 2016 aged 45.

The popular, former Oldham, Swinton Lions, Rochdale Hornets and Rochdale Mayfield goal-kicking back was a product of the talented Oldham St Annes amateur side. He made his professional debut for Hornets in 1990 in the then first division. During season 1992-93 he broke the clubs individual points for record with 276.

He joined Oldham during season 1994 -95 where he played in 30 first team matches scoring three tries, kicking 26 goals including two drop goals. Steve's team mates at Watersheddings included the likes of Jason Temu, Paul Davidson, Mike Kuiti, Joe Faimalo, Wally Gibson, Paul Topping and Martin Crompton. 


A second spell with Hornets followed for Steve before he linked up with Swinton then fittingly ended his professional career back with Rochdale.


The Oldham club issued a statement saying "On behalf of  Oldham RLFC and its supporters, sponsors, season-ticket holders and staff, our chairman Chris Hamilton, coach Scott Naylor and the players extend sincere condolences to the family of Steve.” Steve grew up and played all his early rugby in Oldham, as the younger son of Brian Gartland, who, himself, was a leading member of the backroom team at Watersheddings for many years.

Steve Gartland


1ST APRIL 2016


one of the stars of the successful 1950s team, Dick joined Oldham in 1953 after having a sparkling career at Huddersfield, his hometown club, where he scored 106 tries in 100 games.

His efforts on the right wing brought him international and county honours before he moved over the Pennines to play for the Roughyeds where his reputation was further enhanced as he featured in all the finals Oldham contested in the Lancashire Cup,1954-56-57-58 and the League Championship in 1955 & 1957.

Almost an ever-present during his time with the club, he made 213 senior appearances for Oldham between 1953 and 1958 scoring 119 tries and kicking 28 goals which included nine in a match against Blackpool in November 1956.

Dick passed away in Huddersfield on April 1st 2016.

Cracknell Richard


20TH MARCH 2016


Local prop-forward Ken had a long career with Blackpool Borough before joining Rochdale Hornets and then finished his rugby playing days at Watersheddings making 15 senior appearances for the Roughyeds between 1968 and 1970.

Well known in local rugby circles, Ken passed away on March 20th 2016 after a short illness.

Payne Ken


16TH MARCH 2016


Des McKeown died at Avonleigh Gardens care home on March 13th 2016 a few hundred yards from the former home of Oldham RLFC, Watersheddings.

Des played 53 senior games for Oldham between 1956 and 1960 mostly as a second-row forward. These included the 1958 Lancashire Cup Final victory over St Helens played at Station Road, Swinton.

In 1960, Des was transferred to Wakefield Trinity, and won a Yorkshire Cup winners' medal with them in the following season. Soon after this he retired after suffering a neck injury and took up coaching with Saddleworth Rangers.

A regular and enthusiastic contributor to the publications of the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust, Des always spoke with fondness and pride of his time with the Roughyeds. The funeral was at St Edward's Church, Lees.

McKeown Des




Alex Kersey-Brown died on November 23rd 2015 aged 73 following a long illness.

He grew up in Penmaenmawr where he became a Welsh schoolboy star before playing 5 seasons for London Welsh. He turned pro with Huddersfield in November 1967 and won two Welsh rugby league caps whilst at Fartown. He later signed for Oldham (almost certainly on loan) playing just three first team games all in the centre at the end of the 69/70 season.


31ST JULY 2015


Derek Turner the ex, Oldham, Hull K.R. and Wakefield rugby league player passed away on Friday July 31st aged 82.

Derek "Rocky" Turner, came to Oldham from Hull K.R., playing his first match against Hunslet on September 3rd, 1955. A loose-forward of immense power and fearless determination, Derek was seen by many as the last piece required to complete the puzzle that became the great team of the 1950's. A born leader, with never a backward step, he demonstrated a terrific work rate on both attack and defence, giving everything in the eighty minutes while inspiring others to do the same and was always a thorn in the side of the opposition. Although it is interesting to note that he was never captain while at Watersheddings. Derek was an integral part of the mid to late 1950's success of the club, his big regret was that the club never reached Wembley. Still history remembers Derek as one of the great Wembley captains after he led Wakefield Trinity to success at the famous London stadium in 1960-62-63 as Wakefield instantly recognised his leadership qualities.

Derek won eleven caps during his time with Oldham and 24 overall. He was selected for the 1958 tour only to withdraw because of injury. He would realise this ambition after his move to Wakefield on the 1962 tour when he was vice-captain. He is a member of both the Oldham and Wakefield “Hall of Fame”.

Lauded by players, officals and supporters throughout the game, a true reflection of his importance to the Oldham team in the 1950s would be to read the comments on him by his coach and team-mates:

“Rocky Turner was the man we were looking for, he was on the go all the time, even when the other five were not. He never knew when he was beaten.” … Frank Stirrup.

“He was a great player when the team was in trouble. There are plenty who star when a team is doing well but Turner was at his best when the chips were down. To me that makes a great footballer.” … Griff Jenkins.

“He liked hard work. He absorbed and consumed hard work, and the impetus that gives to a team is enormous. He was a brilliant player.” … Bernard Ganley.

“Derek had that little bit extra. He had that determination to win at all costs. He put everything into it. Not only would he put everything into it, he made sure that everyone around him was involved totally to win the game.” … Alan Davies.

“Rocky Turner was surely one of the game’s best loose forwards.” … Sid Little.



13TH JULY 2015


It is with deep regret that the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust have been informed of the sudden death on July 13th of one of its founder trustees, Dave Whitehead.

A lifelong devotee to Rugby League in general and Oldham RLFC in particular, Dave was a regular feature on the terraces at Oldham’s former Watersheddings home.

He also helped organise supporter trips to Australia and France most notably, and back in the 1990s even enjoyed a spell assisting the club coaching staff. He played a behind-the-scenes role when Oldham ‘A’ went through the ’93-94 season unbeaten.

Sincere condolences to his family and many friends.


3RD JULY 2015


former Oldham and Swinton loose-forward Gordon Haynes died on July 3rd 2015, aged 86.

Former Orford Tannery (Warrington) junior Haynes joined Oldham from Swinton during the 1959-60 season. He made his Oldham debut against Dewsbury at Watersheddings on December 19, 1959, in a league championship match which Oldham went on to win 46-7.

However, he only played 11 first-team matches in the famous red and white hoops because he was plagued by knee problems which resulted in him leaving the club at the end of his debut season.


4TH MARCH 2015


The Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust is sad to announce the death ex-Roughyed Frank Wilkinson on 4 th March 2015.

Frank Wilkinson signed for Oldham in October 1940 aged 17 at the same time as Harry Ogden (16) and Jack Taylor (16). However, unlike the other two teenagers who were both forwards, Frank was a back who played on the wing. He made 24 first team appearances for the Roughyeds, which would have been many more but for the fact that he signed during the second World War and saw service in the Royal Navy.

Frank also played some matches on loan at Batley in the wartime period and on one occasion he travelled over to Mount Pleasant on the Oldham team coach when the Roughyeds were the opposition and had something of a quiet trip back after scoring in a narrow victory for the Yorkshire side.

A local lad from Higginshaw, Frank maintained a connection with his local club and coached them to victory over Saddleworth Rangers in the Standard Cup final of 1960.




Robert (Danny) Gardiner passed away on January 14th 2015

Danny played 24 matches for Oldham in the 1969-70 season. He was capped for Great Britain while at Wigan after commencing his career at Workington Town.


20th OCTOBER 2014


Lyn Morgan passed away on October 20th 2014 aged 74.

A real “rugby “man, Welshman Lyn tuned pro for Oldham during the 1964-5 season and also had a spell at Rochdale Hornets before a long association with Oldham Rugby Union and Broughton Park RUFC.

Always a gentleman, Lyn retained an enthusiasm for both codes of the game after his playing days were over and will be sorely missed on both sides of the rugby divide.


25th MAY 2014


Former Roughyed forward, John Donegan died on 25th May 2014 aged 92.

A native of Widnes John played 24 first team matches for Oldham at the end of the 1940s mostly in the second row and occasionally at loose-forward.




Former Oldham RL centre & winger passes away aged 82

FORMER Oldham RL threequarter Roland Barrow, who played on the wing in the 1955 Championship final against Warrington at Maine Road, Manchester, has died. He was 82.

His funeral service will be held at Oldham Crematorium at Hollinwood on Thursday at 10.30am. He leaves two sons, Dave and Billy, and a daughter, Ann.
He turned pro for the Watersheddings club in the early part of the 1953-54 season from Oldham Rugby Union club and featured in 49 first-team games, scoring 24 tries, before he signed for Huddersfield, where he was to play for eight seasons, during the 1955-56 season.
He made an immediate impact in the talented and exciting Oldham side of that period, playing at centre against Barrow in the Lancashire Cup final of 1954 and on the wing, outside Dick Cracknell, in the side beaten 7-3 by Warrington in the Championship final at the end of that season.
A crowd of 49,000 saw scrum-half Frank Pitchford score Oldham’s only try against a Brian Bevan try for Warrington and two Harry Bath goals.
The Oldham team that day was: Stirrup, Barrow, Cracknell, Davies, O’Grady, Daley, Pitchford, Ogden, Keith, Jackson, Winslade, Little, Goldswain.



5th SEPTEMBER 2013


Former RL Great & Ex Oldham International passes away aged 73

The RFL has extended its condolences to the family of Terry Clawson, the 1972 Rugby League World Cup winner and former Oldham prop, who has died at his home in Pontefract, aged 73..

Clawson, who was 73, enjoyed a distinguished career as a ball-handling forward with Featherstone, Bradford, Leeds, Oldham, York, Wakefield and Hull in the 1960s and 1970s and was capped 14 times by Great Britain.

Having made his debut aged 17 in 1957 for Featherstone, he starred in their pack for six years. Unfortunately at the start of season 1963 he received the devastating news that he had contracted tuberculosis and was admitted to a sanatorium where he remained until March 1964. Undoubtedly such a serious illness would have finished a player of lesser calibre. Not so Terry; he made a full recovery resuming his playing career with Featherstone Rovers against Leeds in that year. He was, however, now looking to move on in his career and requested a transfer. This was granted and he was transferred to Bradford Northern in January 1965. He then moved on to Leeds, before joining Oldham.

When he arrived at Oldham for the start of the 1973-74 season he was one of the most experienced prop forwards in the game.

He was signed to fill the gap left by the retirement of Frank Foster.

In the 12 months he was an Oldham player, Terry played in nine internationals, including all three against the 1973 Kangaroos, producing a powerful performance in the first Test win at Wembley, where he kicked four vital goals.

He was selected for the 1974 tour of Australia and New Zealand — the only Oldham player to make the trip.

Terry returned from tour to play only three games with Oldham in 1974-75, finishing with a total of 19 Oldham appearances.

More than a decade later his son Neil, also a prop, came to Oldham and played more than 80 games between 1986 and 1990..

Terry won a Championship final with Leeds in 1972, when he won the Harry Sunderland Trophy as man of the match, but his finest hour came later that year when he was a member of the Great Britain team that won the Rugby League World Cup in Lyon.

“Our thoughts are with Terry’s family at this very sad time,” said RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood.

“It is particularly sad and poignant that Terry’s passing has come in this, a World Cup year.

“Terry will not just be remembered as a great Rugby League player, he will be remembered as one of the game’s great characters.”

A funeral service will take place at Pontefract Crematorium on Thursday September 12 (11.20am).


4th SEPTEMBER 2013


Former winger passes away aged 93

IT is with deep sadness that we record the death of former Oldham player Joe Warham, who passed away in Leeds at the age of 93.

A winger, he signed for Oldham from Swinton in 1949, scoring 69 tries in 124 appearances before leaving to become player-manager at Rochdale Hornets in 1953.

He later began a long association with the Leeds club, for whom he became a director and filled many more roles in his many years at Headingley.

Joe made his Oldham debut at Liverpool on January 29, 1949 and although playing occasionally at left wing and at stand off, it was at right wing that he excelled, finishing top scorer in his first three full seasons with the club.

His best try haul came in season 1951-52 when he scored 25 times, helping Oldham to finish fifth in the table — the best league placing the club had achieved in 20 years.

A gentleman on and off the field, and a player who was always quick to acknowledge the efforts of his centre Billy Mitchell, Joe played his last game for the club at Fartown against Huddersfield, scoring a try in a 27-20 defeat on August 22, 1953.


5th Feb 2013 - Gordon Pollard - RIP

We have just heard the sad news that Gordon Pollard has died at the age of 58. He lived in Weymouth, Dorset.

Signed as a full back from St. Joseph ARLFC, Huddersfield (Bob Irvings' amateur club) he made his first team debut off the bench during the 76/77 season after moving into the back three of the pack. Played 23 first team matches including six as sub. When called upon was a useful goal kicker. His last first team appearance was during the 81/82 season.

Team mates from his debut season include Martin Murphy, Mike Elliott, Fred Hall, Tony Wainwright, Steve Herbert, Kevin Taylor, Bob Kear, Ray Hicks, Geoff Munro, John Blair, Kevin Flanagan & Eddie Barton.

The funeral is at 2-30pm on Monday 11th of February at Weymouth Crematorium, Tel: 01305 786984 and the funeral directors are Cotton & Son, Weymouth Tel: 01305 767676


3rd Feb 2013 - Frank Stirrup - RIP

Remembered as one of Oldham Rugby League Club's best ever players, has died in a Leigh care-home, at the age of 88.

A member of the Oldham RL Heritage Trust's Hall of Fame, the slight, multi-talented Stirrup played a huge part in laying down the foundations for the success of the great Watersheddings side of the mid and late 1950’s.

It was often said of Stirrup, a halfback ofsublime skill, that he could make a rugby ball “talk" such was his dexterity and speed of thought with ball in hand.

He played in 224 senior games for Oldham between 1951 and 1960, a period in which the club appeared in two Championship finals at Maine Road and Odsal; won the Lancashire Cup three years in a row; and built a reputation as one of the most entertaining teams ever.

In 1952 Stirrup led out the Roughyeds' to face Clive Churchill’s' Australian tourists in front of a Watersheddings' crowd of 19,620.  The match ended in a 7-7 draw a more than creditable performance considering the Aussies played 22 matches against club opposition losing only to St. Helens.

There can be no finer tribute to Stirrup than that penned by Michael Turner in his book 'Oldham RLFC, The Complete Historypublished in 1997.

He wrote: "In his first match for Oldham Frank played at scrum-half, but whether it be at the base of the scrum, stand-off , wing or fullback, Frank would always give 100 per cent effort.

"He could play scrum-half to Daley, thenstand-off to Pitchford, then deputise at full-back for Ganley , embracing each role with enthusiasm and the natural Stirrup flair.

"He became known as 'Mr Football' and his sleight of hand exchanges, especially with Daley, became legendary at Watersheddings.

"He provided short passes to put the likes ofLittle and Turner through a gap; long passes to open up the way for Cracknell or Etty to flydown the wing; no passes leaving defenders tackling shadows as be dummied his way overfor a try.

"These were all part of the Stirrup armourythat would regularly thrill the Watersheddings’crowd”.

"Considered desperately unlucky never to represent his country, Frank did play for Lancashire and was a popular club captain in the championship-winning season of 1956-17
having been the first Oldham skipper for more than 20 years to lift a major trophy after the Lancashire Cup final success over St. Helens atSwinton in 1956”.

“As an entertainer there were few, if any,who left such a lasting impression as Frank Stirrup”.

Whilst at Watersheddings Frank played four times for the county the highlight being in 1952 when along with Oldham colleagues Frank Daley, Alan Davies and Terry O'Grady they helped the Red Rose side win the County Championship. At the end of the 50's Stirrup replaced Griff Jenkins as coach before Gus Risman took over in a full-time capacity in 1960.

Having suffered from a debilitating disease for some years one of his last visits to the club was during the 2001 season when he was the fourth Leigh player to be inaugurated into the Hall of Fame along with Herman Hilton bringing the numbers up from eight to ten. He was presented to the crowd prior to the Leigh Centurions match played at Boundary Park. He was a great friend of Vince Nestor who also died recently.

Frank Stirrup's funeral service is to be held on Thursday 14th Feb at 12pm at St. Josephs' RC Church, Chapel St, Leigh followed by committal at 1pm at Howebridge Crematorium, Lovers Lane, Atherton M46 OPZ. The funeral directors are Sankey & Monks, 5, Hope St., Leigh


18th Jan 2013 - Jim McCormack- RIP

Just three days after the loss of Vinny Nestor, we now have had the sad news regarding, Jim McCormack, who has passed away following heart problems, aged 73.

Jim McCormack came to Oldham from Wigan at the start of the 64-65 season, a strong, hard-tackling centre who was bought to allow Peter Smethurst to move out of the threequarters into the pack.

He held down a first-team spot until the 1971-72 season when a shoulder injury forced his retirement after 165 senior games for Oldham, in which he scored 32 tries.
He played in two Lancashire Cup finals, the first in 1966 when Oldham were pipped 16-13 by Wigan at Swinton and again two years later when St Helens cruised past the Roughyeds 30-2 at Wigan after Oldham had led 2-0 at half-time.
The '66 team, beaten in front of a 14,193 crowd, lined up like this: McLeod; Dolly, McCormack, Donovan, Simms; Warburton, Canning; Wilson, Taylor, Fletcher, Smethurst, Irving, Mooney. Subs: Holroyd, Ogden.

Two years later, watched by a Central Park crowd of more than 17,000, Oldham fielded this team: Murphy; Elliott, Larder, McCormack, Whitehead; Briggs, Canning; Wilson, Taylor, Fletcher, Irving, McCourt, Hughes.Subs: Buckley, Maders.  

McCormack was one of several Oldham players who were capped by Lancashire in his early days at Watersheddings, alongside the likes of John Donovan, Harry Major, Len McIntyre and Dave Parker


15th Jan 2013 - Vinny Nestor - RIP

Vincent "Vinny" Nestor, has passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday 15th January 2013 aged 75.

His nephew, David Croft, paid this tribute to him - "Vinny" as he was affectionately known played for Oldham RLFC during the late 1950s early 1960s. He was very proud (but modest at the same time) to be a member of one of Oldhams most successful sides. During his career at Oldham he appeared 232 times, scoring 86 tries. Oldham RLFC always had a special place in his heart and I for one never tired of hearing about his playing days. He will be missed by many friends, both attached and unattached to Rugby League."

He played league at every level for Leigh schoolboys but it was from Tyldesley Rugby Union Club, aged 17, that he signed for Oldham at the beginning of the 1955-56 season. A utility back, he made his debut in the 16-10 defeat at York on the 24th of September 1955 when selected at at out-half. National Service interrupted his playing career but played centre in the 1957 Lancashire Cup final13-8 victory over Wigan. Vinny played in all the back positions with the exception of scrum-half. He played on the wing vs. Hull in the 1960 Challenge Cup semi 12-9 defeat at Swinton and at out-half in the 1964 Challenge Cup semi and its two replays vs. Hull KR.

He was awarded a benefit season 64/65 culminating in a Oldham Past vs. Oldham Present match at Watersheddings although he didn't play in it.

The team for the 1957 Lancashire Cup final (above) read Ganley, Cracknell, Nestor, Davies, Etty, Daley, Pitchford, Jackson, Keith, Vines, Winslade, Little, Turner

The team for the 1964 Challenge Cup semi vs Hull KR at Leeds read Dyson, Sims, Donovan, Smethurst, Simms, Nestor, Pycroft, Bott, McIntyre, Wilson, Major, Whitehead, Parker

He played for Salford towards the end of his career.

His funeral will be held at St Josephs Catholic Church in Leigh, midday, Friday 25th January 2013.

5th Dec 2011 - Geoff Robinson - RIP

GEOFF Robinson, the speedy back-row forward who played 177 first-class games for Oldham RL Club between 1959 and 1965, has died in his native Cumbria at the age of 77. His funeral took on Monday 19th December 2011, in a village near Penrith where he had lived for several years.

His signing from Whitehaven shortly before the start of the 1959-60 season hit the rugby league headlines because Oldham paid a transfer fee of £9,000 which was then a world record for a forward.

Click here for further details



18th Dec 2010 - John Noon - RIP

JOHN Noon, the former Oldham Rugby League Club centre and Rochdale Hornets player-coach, died in the Royal Oldham Hospital on Saturday, aged 75.

He had been in hospital for nearly two weeks after suffering a stroke at his home in Waterhead.

An Oldhamer born and bred, he signed for his hometown club from local amateur side Lowermoor in 1953, aged 18, and went on to give the Watersheddings club a decade of service during a period of success that was unparalleled in Oldham's post-war history.

In 255 appearances between 1954 and 1964, he kicked 137 goals and scored 125 tries. Only three players — Alan Davies, Sid Rix and Mike Elliott — have scored more tries for Oldham than that.

In 1955-56 he played more games than anyone else (36 out of a possible 40) and he had the distinction, in 1958, of playing left centre to John Etty in the Oldham side that beat St Helens 12-2 in the final of the Lancashire Cup.

There was competition for centre spots from Davies and the talented Dennis Ayres and Vinny Nestor.

But Noon played in every back position for the club except scrum-half.

He is, however, best remembered as a centre — forceful on attack and uncompromising in defence.

He topped the 20-try mark in three consecutive seasons, 1959-60, 1960-61 and 1961-62, and in 1962-63, by which time the great Bernard Ganley's reign as king of goalkickers had come to an end, he was leading marksman.

Later appointed captain of Oldham, he was unfortunate to narrowly miss out on selection for Great Britain's tour of Australia in 1962, having kicked five goals as a combined Oldham-Hornets side beat the touring New Zealanders 10-8 at Watersheddings on September 4, 1961.

His final game for Oldham was in the Law Cup match of 1964, after which he became captain and player-coach of Rochdale Hornets where he enjoyed considerable success.

When he finally retired from the professional game he became coach at Saddleworth Rangers, whom he led to a Standard Cup final triumph in 1971.