The Heritage Trust and all of the Oldham RL fraternity were saddened to learn of the death of former Roughyed, Cliff Hill who recently died in a Wigan hospital, aged 78.
Cliff , was a clever ‘old school’ stand-off who joined Oldham from Wigan towards the end of his career and, with prop Frank Foster and coach Graham Starkey, helped to transform Oldham’s fortunes in the early 1970s.
A master tactician he dictated tactics, used to the full his great vision and sense of anticipation, and generally brought out the best in those around him.
Hill captained a side which played a brand of touchline-to-touchline rugby that wasn’t only pleasing on the eye, but brought out the best in outside backs and wingers. Hill, as playmaker-in-chief, and Foster, as the side’s enforcer, were the perfect fit for Starkey’s advanced thinking.
In seven years at Wigan earlier in his career, Cliff scored 57 tries in 192 games and then at Oldham, between 1971 and 1973, he played 59 times, scored nine tries… and made scores of more for others.
Brought up in Ashton-in-Makerfield, he was spotted by the great Eric Ashton while playing for Newton-Le-Willows RU club, the club. In replacing full-back Colin Tyrer, who was injured in the 1970 Cup Final, Cliff made Rugby League and Challenge Cup history by becoming the first substitute in a Challenge Cup final.
The following year Cliff signed for Oldham for £2,250. He made his debut for the Roughyeds at Halifax on February 7th 1971 in a team including Martin Murphy, Mike Elliott, Phil Larder, Kevin Taylor, Ken Wilson and Bob Irving.
He made one appearance for Great Britain against the French in January 1966.
The sincere condolences of the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust are offered to Cliff’s family and friends.