Waterhead Warriors celebrate centenary

RUGBY royalty was present as Waterhead Warriors celebrated their 100th birthday with a lavish centenary dinner at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Barrie McDermott, Paul Sculthorpe and Kevin Sinfield

Former players present included Paul Sculthorpe, Kevin Sinfield and Barrie McDermott, who went on to achieve greatness in the game.

The event, which was attended by 650 people, was a chance to look back at the illustrious history of the amateur rugby league club.

The first reference about a Waterhead rugby team was discovered in the local press in 1920, hence the centenary celebrations.

People had spoken previously of a team playing prior to this date, but no written evidence has ever been found to validate this.

Initially the Church Inn, Waterhead, was the base for the team until the mid-1960s when the council gave approval for the original clubhouse, fondly known as the wood hut.

An extension was added about 1977 which was affectionately named the players’ lounge.

Friends of Waterhead were formed in 1989 when they began serious fundraising which enabled purchase of the land on which the club now stands.

Throughout its history, Waterhead has produced numerous players who have gone on to enjoy successful professional careers.

Nineteen players have played in Super League, including Sculthorpe, Sinfield, McDermott and still playing are Marc Sneyd, Jordan Turner and Josh Johnson.

Ex-players also include, George Ford who is a regular in the England rugby union team while Ken Wilson, who was also capped by England at RU and played league for Oldham, had two spells coaching Waterhead.

And the club’s excellent youth set-up has become renowned in rugby.

It is more than a rugby club, however, and it is a social setting with a gym and training facilities for not only players but for the wider community.

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