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BBR

Bolton

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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.

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

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

He would, surely, know the answer.

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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.

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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.

Mets: http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/boltonmets/

Us in Bury: www.burybroncos.co.uk

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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 !! :) :) :)

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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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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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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.

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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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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.?

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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??

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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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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.

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

The old players books have him coming from Wigan and signing from Orrell

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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.

Don't know about Bolton but having spent time at Bury CC I have seen the RU club training quite a lot and the juniors do seem to do well for numbers - i assume that any good players are hoovered up by the likes of Sedgley Park.

Bury though has never really had a rugby history unlike say, Rochdale or Oldham where kids often follow their parents into either of the two codes and only rarely is there any movement between the two. (Although 20 years ago there were a lot of RU youngsters giving RL a go particularly at Mayfield; Littleborough and Milnrow).

At lot of parents like to see good facilities so if Bury RL were able to get to the same standard as the RU this could be a big fillip for them.

Keep up the good work at Bury Broncos - I'm sure that you will be successful.

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

Where was his dad from??

His dad is Colin Clarke former Wigan hooker, Colin was born in Wigan and played for the Orrell Union Club which is where Wigan signed him from.

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Don't know about Bolton but having spent time at Bury CC I have seen the RU club training quite a lot and the juniors do seem to do well for numbers - i assume that any good players are hoovered up by the likes of Sedgley Park.

Bury though has never really had a rugby history unlike say, Rochdale or Oldham where kids often follow their parents into either of the two codes and only rarely is there any movement between the two. (Although 20 years ago there were a lot of RU youngsters giving RL a go particularly at Mayfield; Littleborough and Milnrow).

At lot of parents like to see good facilities so if Bury RL were able to get to the same standard as the RU this could be a big fillip for them.

i've been actively looking at a broad range of facility options for some months but we can't jump to significantly better facilities in my view without it being a significant liability on the club. it's OK building something, but maintaining it and investing in it over time is the issue and we'll need to have a larger base in terms of sides and players to support that. our approach in setting up teams is to do so at as low a cost as possible to encourage participation - this year, we charged £1 per session, and no regsitration fee to join our new U9s and U11s - we'll change that next year but we still wouldnt have enough of a bse to fullr run a facility dedictaed to just us. So...to have sustainable growth, we'll need to slowly develop our infrastructures. and if anyone reading this is remotely interested - email contact@burybroncos.co.uk as to grow more we need more coaches and more support volunteers. We're running a primary school festival today for Yr 4/5 - the Yr 5 kids can play in an existing team but the younger ones will qualify as U8s next year which = a new team if there are enough interested and that'll mean new coaches and volunteers again.

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