If the fates allow the Law Cup match to actually take place this year, here are a few facts to consider:
After a 0 – 0 draw at the Athletic Grounds on May 7th 1921, Oldham became the first recipients by winning the replay 12 – 2 at Watersheddings on May 13th with Joe Ferguson the first winning captain to hold the cup aloft.
Oldham retained the trophy on September 9th 1922 when Herman Hilton captained the Roughyeds to a 12 – 8 triumph, scoring a try in the process.
A year later the Hornets registered their first success by securing a 13 – 5 victory at the Athletic Grounds.
Full-back Tommy Rees and prop forward Jack Read both appeared in eleven Law Cup encounters for Oldham.
Bryn Goldswain was the Oldham captain on five occasions with Sid Rix and Martin Murphy leading the team four times each.
Last season’s skipper Gareth Owen was the captain in 2017, 2019 and 2020 and would have probably equalled Rix and Murphy but for injury ruling him out in 2018 when the honour fell to Danny Langtree.
The largest attendance was in 1926 when 14,000 saw Oldham easy winners 34 – 0 at Watersheddings with ex-Hornet Joe Corsi the star of the show with a hat-trick performance.
The mid 1950s was good spell for the “Nets” with victories in 1953 & 1955 with the 1954 match ending in a draw with Rochdale retaining the trophy and there was a shock in 1958 when the star-studded, high flying Roughyeds were humbled 25 – 10 at the Athletic Grounds.
Three Oldham players; Irving Barraclough, Bernard Ganley and Johnny Noon have kicked seven goals in a Law Cup match and in 1961 while ‘Noonie” was landing those goals, Frank Pitchford set the tries record with four touchdowns.
The Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust have added to the website a video of the match against Batley on January 10th 1982. This is the oldest match for which we have extended footage (44 minutes). The match was played at Boundary Park due to Watersheddings being snowbound for several weeks. There is no commentary but the ambient crowd noise is present. The Oldham team was as follows:
Alan Taylor, Geoff Munro, Brian Caffery, Mic Parrish, Phil Ward, Ashley McEwen, Paddy Kirwan, Brian Hogan, Alan McCurrie, Adrian Alexander, Bob Mordell, Mick Worrall, Terry Flanagan.
SUBS: Ray Ashton, Alan Platt.
Does anyone out there have any footage older than this? In the same season Oldham played Hull at Headingley in the semi-final of the John Player trophy on November 29th 1981. This match was screened live by the BBC. Does anyone have a tape of this match or any that are older? If so the Trust would be like to take a copy to add to the collection.
The Heritage Trust were saddened to learn via the Rugby League Journal of the death of Peter Astbury.
Peter played four matches for the Roughyeds on loan from Bramley in the 1973-74 season, all of them at scrum-half, including the game against the Australian touring team.
After playing for Normanton and Castleford under 19s, Peter began his professional career at Leeds before moving on to Bramley where he amassed 130 first team appearances before moving on to Bradford Northern. He moved back to help the coaching staff at Bramley and also had spells behind the scenes at Keighley, Doncaster and York.
The sincere condolences of the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust are offered to Peter’s family and friends.
The Trustees of the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust would like to offer their sincere thanks to the volunteers who helped make the “Pass It On” project such a success:
Linda Mills, Ray Hill, Joe Warburton, Nick Jones, Callum Brown, Mary Turner and Sandra Bullock. Without their help and enthusiasm the project could not have been realised within the twelve months timescale. Another factor was the help from the staff at the Oldham Local Studies and Archive department and Gallery Oldham for their help and support.
Finally, a big thank you is offered to the Heritage Fund whose financial backing made the whole project possible.
On Saturday December 7th the Trust held its Celebration event to mark the closing days of the ‘Pass It On’ project by which their memorabilia collection was given over to Oldham Council and the launch of the new Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust website. The project has been funded by the ‘Heritage Fund.’
On the day there was a mini display of memorabilia along with a slide presentation covering the activities of the trust over the years.
The turn out was very heartening with amongst the attendees: The Mayor of Oldham, Ginny Alexander and consort, Adrian Alexander, MP for Oldham East & Saddleworth, Debbie Abrahams, Club Chairman, Chris Hamilton, Club Captain, Gareth Owen along with a good representation from the ex-players association including “Hall of Famers”, Mike Elliott, Terry Flanagan and Martin Murphy. There was also representation from Rugby Oldham and ORSA.
The atmosphere was very positive with a particularly good response to the new website.
New Oldham Rugby League Book Now Available. By Michael Turner
190 A4 pages – Packed with facts, figures and images, the book, hardback and in full colour, deals with the running of the club during one of the darkest periods in the history of the country.
Read how just finding 13 players to pull on the jersey became a major struggle with so many of the club’s personnel away in the services. The poignant letters home from players and officials writing from the trenches – filled with hope and despair!
How the mood of the country changed as the “home before Christmas” attitude gave way to the realisation that the conflict would endure for years.
The bravery and sadness as some players were honoured and others were lost.
View the flyer here to obtain your copy please email the Trust by clicking here.
This hard backed book is priced at £20 and is available to buy directly from the Trust. Send a cheque for £20 made payable to:
The Oldham RL Heritage Trust 9 Dumfries Drive Denshaw, Oldham OL3 5SG (Delivery free to Oldham postcodes. Please add £3.50 for P&P for addresses outside the Oldham area).
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.
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.
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.