Archive: Jan 2020

Frank Foster RIP

20 December 2019

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of our former player Frank Foster.

Born in West Cumbria, he played his early rugby with the junior side Grasslot, where he soon made his mark and represented Great Britain at under-19 level.

Workington soon snapped him and he had successful spells with Hull K.R., Bradford and Barrow before ending up at Watersheddings.

He came to Oldham when the club were struggling, having won only six and drawn one of the 21 league matches played in the 1971-72 season. After Frank arrived, the club lost just one more league game out of thirteen and that was in the very last minute at Warrington.

A ball playing prop forward, who had won Cumberland county and full international honours, he had the knack of committing several defenders to the tackle and then releasing the ball from almost impossible situations. Also possessing a tremendous field kicking game, he was an awesome all- round talent who led from the front with never a backward step. Frank was that strange enigma of being as tricky and skilful as any half back, while remaining the toughest and most uncompromising of prop forwards and a good goal kicker to boot. More the pity that the club only had a year and a half of service out of Frank before he retired at the end of the 1972-73 season having made 47 appearances with two tries and  25 goals.

A true Rugby League legend, in my experience, never has a player made such an immediate and positive impression on the club as did Frank Foster.

Jimmy Reynolds RIP

19 December 2019

The Heritage Trust was sad to learn of the death of ex player Jim Reynolds.

Jimmy, as he was known, was a hard-working, tough tackling, loose-forward who always played well above his weight, He joined Oldham from the amateur game in Leigh and made his debut against Dewsbury on September 29th 1970 with Martin Murphy, Phil Larder, Mike Elliott and Kevin Taylor amongst his team-mates.

Jimmy scored 22 tries for Oldham in 137 senior games between 1970 and 1978. The condolences of everyone at the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust go to the Reynolds family.

Hugh Waddell RIP

Nov 1st 2019

It was with much sadness that the Oldham RL Heritage Trust learned of the passing away of former player Hugh Waddell.

A most unlikely rugby league hero, Hugh Waddell walked into Blackpool Borough and asked for a trial as the result of a bet. He was an instant hit at Borough and wore their tangerine colours with distinction for three seasons which won him an England cap against Wales. After a devastating ‘hat-tick’ display at Watersheddings in September 1984 which sent the Roughyeds crashing out of the Lancashire Cup, Oldham duly took note and he signed in January 1987. He became a favourite with the fans as a tough straight running prop forward and soon showed his mettle to the Oldham public in the first round Challenge Cup win over Wigan, when he had a storming game. The following season he played 36 out of a possible 38 games to help the club take the second division Championship and Premiership titles, the latter after that famous encounter with Featherstone Rovers at Old Trafford. Consistent form throughout the season earned him a Great Britain call up, but there were a few raised eyebrows when he was selected for the 1988 tour. “Hughie” went on to prove all the doubters wrong, especially when he turned in another stunning performance in the last test victory, the first against the Aussies for ten years.

Always popular with the Oldham fans, he joined Leeds in September 1988 after making 54 appearances for the Roughyeds scoring seven tries. He later went on to Sheffield, where he helped the Eagles to defeat his former team in the 1990 Divisional Premiership final.


4 August 2019

The Heritage Trust were saddened to hear of the death of Colin Smith.

A prop forward or hooker, Colin signed from Swinton in the autumn of 1967 after previously having played for Blackpool Borough. He made just 19 appearances for the Roughyeds but will be ever remembered for a try saving cover tackle on the Hunslet winger Tommy Thompson in a first round tie at Parkside in February 1968. That effort effectively won the match for Oldham who went on to beat Bradford after a replay before going down to Leeds in the quarter final with each of the three matches attended by crowds in excess of 18,000.

He went on to join the coaching staff at Saddlewoth Rangers and represented the local league on the Lancashire County committee.

A true sportsman Colin will be remembered by many both on and off the field.