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Bolton


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#1 BBR

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 12:42 PM

Just wondered why Bolton has no noticable RL team/heritage.

Why did the towns to the East (Oldham/Rochdale) and the West (Wigan) take up the game yet Bolton didn't?

Always puzzled me.

Probably a very obvious answer.

#2 faz'_nose

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 12:45 PM

I often wondered that too. In fact, Phil Clarke is the only notable player - that I can think of - that's from Bolton.

#3 faz'_nose

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 12:47 PM

Dave Hadfield is/was involved with Bolton Mets. Chairman, perhaps?

He would, surely, know the answer.

Edited by faz'_nose, 05 October 2012 - 12:48 PM.


#4 D9000

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:04 PM

I think it's mostly purely chance. Whether a town became a 'soccer' or 'rugby' town is perhaps mostly to do with the local football club that first became prominent and well-supported in that town. If the first club to 'make it' played the handling code, then the odds are that town would become a rugby town, other, lesser clubs would be founded, and so on. Bolton Wanderers were a prominent club in the early days of Association football, whereas Wigan, Oldham and Rochdale all had rugby playing clubs to the fore; Oldham Football Club and Wigan Football Club were, as the names suggest, the first clubs in their respective towns, and chose to play rugby.

It's not an infallible rule, though: Burnley started out as a rugby club, but changed early, and of course some rugby clubs changed to soccer as the national profile of the kicking game grew (Manningham and Stockport come to mind), and some rugby clubs who were the leading light in their towns in the 19th century faded away for various reasons in the early years of the 20th (Lancaster would be an example).

As to why clubs chose the code they did, it often has to do with which school the founder(s) of the club went to - Rugby or Harrow.

#5 mmp

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:28 PM

Bolton, and Bury, are both soccer towns (with quite strong amatuer RU clubs).

As others have said, places seemed to 'choose' a code of professional sport before 1900. Neither town had a top level rugby club in the 1890s so neither were at the forefront of the switch to Northern Union but both had very strong soccer sides - Bolton made FA Cup finals in the 1890s, even 'little' Bury won the FA cup in 1900 and 1903. Where as local town pride evolved around rugby sides in places like Wigan, it was soccer in these towns.

As an aside, a 'Radcliffe' side played professional rugby in 1902 within the NU - Radcliffe is a town in the modern Bury Borough but closely linked to Bolton. My guess would be that both towns had amatuer sides in early 1900s but they didnt last with soccer so dominant and because both towns had good RU clubs with their own facilities etc.

Dave Hadfield is from Bolton, and is President of Bolton Mets. Bolton School (a private school) won a cup competition for all private schools playing RL last year. Technically, Westhoughton is part of Bolton (although very close to Wigan) and has a strong junior set-up and an open age side still.

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#6 Chronicler of Chiswick

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 02:09 PM

I would agree that it's just a matter of chance. For instance, what would RL's 'outreach' be today if Wakefield and Castleford Town had been included in the Football League Division 3 North when it was established in 1921?

#7 D9000

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 02:17 PM

Given the Football League's evangelistic zeal in planting soccer clubs in rugby towns I'm rather surprised they weren't included! But of they had been, Wakefield FC would have gone bust and/or back to non-league pretty quickly, as did so many other founders of D3N. No way they were going to be able to compete with the established Trinity. Castleford would have been competing on a more equal footing, since the RL club were also newly elevated to senior competition.

#8 Usera

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 02:31 PM

I often wondered that too. In fact, Phil Clarke is the only notable player - that I can think of - that's from Bolton.


Wasn`t Des Drummond (and his brother Alva) from Bolton? Also, although not players, both the writer Geoffrey Moorhouse and Wigan's Maurice Lindsay were from Bolton.

Edited by Usera, 05 October 2012 - 02:31 PM.


#9 Ex-Kirkholt

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 03:16 PM

Bolton, and Bury, are both soccer towns (with quite strong amatuer RU clubs).

Mets: http://www.pitchero....ubs/boltonmets/

Us in Bury: www.burybroncos.co.uk

Both Bury and Bolton along with Oldham, De La Salle (Salford) and North Manchester (Moston) compete in the N. Lancs Division 1 which is at tier 8 - there is only tier 9 below them so neither are that strong.

You've got nowt to beat !! :) :) :)
Looks like it wer' organised by't Pennine League

#10 John Rhino

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 03:41 PM

On this side of the Pennines the same question could be asked of places like Barnsley. It just a question of who was there at the time allied to pure chance.

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#11 mmp

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 03:45 PM

Both Bury and Bolton along with Oldham, De La Salle (Salford) and North Manchester (Moston) compete in the N. Lancs Division 1 which is at tier 8 - there is only tier 9 below them so neither are that strong.

You've got nowt to beat !! :) :) :)


i meant in terms of structures. both Bury and Bolton have very good junior set ups with both (i think) running every age group and also, both have pretty good facilities. add the strength of Sedgley Park (all ages except U13s and effectively, a pro set-up as good as some Champ 1 sides at open age!) and it's very hard to convince a kid into rugby league when football is the dominant sport of choice (there are more football sides in the Bury/Bolton football league than in the entire NW rugby league!) and the RU set-ups are so good.
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#12 faz'_nose

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 04:59 PM

Wasn`t Des Drummond (and his brother Alva) from Bolton?


Possibly, I'm not sure!

#13 Lobbygobbler

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 05:05 PM

Bolton is very close to Leigh and it is a shame we havent taken advantage of what is a vast untapped area to our north. If we could get into SL I would like us to play some big on the road games there.



#14 Padge

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 05:30 PM

I often wondered that too. In fact, Phil Clarke is the only notable player - that I can think of - that's from Bolton.

I often wondered that too. In fact, Phil Clarke is the only notable player - that I can think of - that's from Bolton.

Phil Clarke is from Blackrod which technically is Bolton but it is right on the border of Wigan and the few people I know from Blackrod have more of an affinity with Wigan than Bolton.

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#15 keighley

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 07:25 PM

I think Yorkshire was almost all Rugby prior to the split with the exception of the Sheffield area which played a version of soccer. I think it might have been called Sheffield rules or some such. Maybe Barnsley was parrt of that group.

The other Yorkshire soccer clubs were part of a football league expansion movement including Leeds City, the forerunner of Leeds United. Rugby was weakened in it s attempts to counteract this soccer expansion by the division of the great split.

I often wonder why the northern part of Lancashire, Preston, Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley ended up so strongly in the soccer camp. weren't most of them founder members of the football league.?

#16 The Parksider

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:04 PM

Phil Clarke is from Blackrod which technically is Bolton but it is right on the border of Wigan and the few people I know from Blackrod have more of an affinity with Wigan than Bolton.


Where was his dad from??

#17 1976PMJwires

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:14 PM

Where was his dad from??


Mother and father

#18 Blind side johnny

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 09:15 PM

Weren't Tyldesley a strong rugby team in the 1890's?

The original split from RU was actually as a result of pressure from soccer rather than RU if I understand it correctly. Bolton went strongly towards soccer and so the cast was made.
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#19 Usera

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:40 AM

I think Yorkshire was almost all Rugby prior to the split with the exception of the Sheffield area which played a version of soccer. I think it might have been called Sheffield rules or some such. Maybe Barnsley was parrt of that group.

The other Yorkshire soccer clubs were part of a football league expansion movement including Leeds City, the forerunner of Leeds United. Rugby was weakened in it s attempts to counteract this soccer expansion by the division of the great split.

I often wonder why the northern part of Lancashire, Preston, Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley ended up so strongly in the soccer camp. weren't most of them founder members of the football league.?


According to Tony Collins in 'Rugby's Great Spilt' Barnsley was a rugby town, but soccer took such a hold that in 1898 the the local rugby trophy, the Beckett Cup, was handed over to the local FA as there were no rugby teams left to play for it. He also states that both both Preston and Burnley started as as rugby clubs before switching to soccer in the early 1880's.

#20 Usera

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:44 AM

Phil Clarke is from Blackrod which technically is Bolton but it is right on the border of Wigan and the few people I know from Blackrod have more of an affinity with Wigan than Bolton.


Isn't he Colin Clarke's son? I presume that Colin Clarke was from Wigan, I think he signed from Wigan RUFC.




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