Oldham RLFC

The Roughyeds


Two days to go to Cornwall's first visit here

TWO days to go . . . and ahead of Sunday’s first ever visit to Oldham by the new Cornwall club (3pm kick-off at the Vestacare Stadium), Mike Turner of the Heritage Trust reveals that in days gone by the South-West of England produced lots of players who were destined to wear Oldham’s famous red and white shirts.

The genuine Cornishmen on view in Sunday’s game certainly won’t be the first from the mainly rural and farming communities of the South West to play rugby league.

Writes Mike:

“Although our club’s associations with the South West of England are extensive there is very little connection, if any, with Cornwall itself.

“However, when it comes to Devon and to Gloucestershire there are many links, notably with Oldham’s former players such as Arthur Smith, Bob Sloman and the great Jack Read, who made 463 appearances for Oldham, almost all at prop.

“Centre Jack Stephens, club captain in the early 1930s, was another.

“All these Oldham heroes hailed from the West Country, as did each of the three Oldham players who became Rugby League legends for the part they played in the famous Rorkes Drift Test of 1914.

“Billy Hall, Dave Holland and Alf Wood all came from that region.

“The ties between Oldham and the South West in the early part of the 20th century were indeed both extensive and truly significant.”—–

RORKE’S DRIFT TRIO — BILLY HALL (back), ALF WOOD (front left), DAVE HOLLAND (front right).
RORKE’S DRIFT TRIO — BILLY HALL (back), ALF WOOD (front left), DAVE HOLLAND (front right).

Fast-track the best part of a century and Adrian Alexander, who played rugby union in Cornwall, will tell you they breed their young men tough down there and as rugged as the coastal cliffs and rocks for which the county is renowned.

On a different theme, yet still historical, it is exactly 100 years today on April 22, 1922, to be precise — since winger Reg Farrar created Oldham Football Club’s (that’s what it was called back then) all-time record for tries in a season.

He recorded his 49th try that season against Huddersfield in a top-four play-off match at Watersheddings. In all, he scored two tries and two goals in the 13-5 win with our other try scored by Bob Sloman.

In the final at Broughton, Wigan beat us 13-2.

Strange, isn’t it, that tries should be uppermost in our mind right now thanks to Reg Farrar all those years ago and they will be again on Sunday when our own Owen Restall bids to keep his spot at the head of Betfred League One’s 2022 try scorers.

Let’s be there to give him all the support he needs.


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