Hilton Park (stadium)
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Hilton Park was a multi-purpose stadium in Leigh, Greater Manchester, England. It was the home of Leigh RLFC rugby league club and Leigh Genesis football club. It had a capacity of approximately 10,000.
|Full name||Hilton Park|
|Former names||Kirkhall Lane|
|Location||Leigh, Metropolitan Borough of Wigan|
|Leigh RLFC (1947–2009) Leigh Genesis (1995–2009)|
The stadium was demolished in February 2009.
In 1947, Leigh Rugby League Club moved to new headquarters in Kirkhall Lane, having played at Mather Lane before the Second World War and at Madeley Park (Leigh Harriers Athletic ground) immediately after the war.
In 1953 floodlights were installed at a cost of £4,100. The ground saw a record home crowd of 31,326 attend a Rugby League Challenge Cup tie with St. Helens in the same year. Later, Kirkhall Lane was officially renamed Hilton Park after former club chairman Jack Hilton in recognition of his work in securing the site for the new ground.
Leigh's record attendance for rugby was set in 1953 at 31,326 when St Helens visited for a third round Challenge Cup game. The largest modern-day attendance saw 9,760 watch a Challenge Cup Quarter Final against local rivals Wigan in 2002.
In 1995, the association football club Horwich RMI moved from the Grundy Hill stadium, in Horwich to Hilton Park, changing its name to Leigh RMI in the process. As part of the deal a new company, Grundy Hill Estates, was formed to take over the ownership of the ground.
Leigh added 'Centurions' to its name for the 1995–96 season, and as part of the name change the stadium was renamed the Coliseum.
It was announced in January 2007 that the club would undergo a rebranding exercise that would ultimately lead to the Centurions name being dropped but the decision to rebrand was reversed after a fans' backlash.
Leigh moved to Leigh Sports Village for the 2009–10 season. Hilton Park has since been demolished.
Rugby League Test MatchesEdit
The list of international rugby league matches played at Hilton Park is.
|1||19 November 1954*||Australia def. New Zealand 18–5||6,000|
|2||19 September 1955||Other Nationalities def. France 32–19||7,000||1955–56 European Rugby League Championship|
|3||18 March 1964||Great Britain def. France 39–0||4,750|
* This match, played a week after the 1954 Rugby League World Cup Final, was played in very muddy conditions and saw both teams come out in different coloured jumpers after half time. Australia wore red and New Zealand wore blue.
Rugby League Tour MatchesEdit
|1||29 September 1948||Australia def. Leigh 24–12||12,968||1948–49 Kangaroo Tour|
|2||15 October 1952||Australia def. Leigh 34–5||8,409||1952–53 Kangaroo Tour|
|3||29 October 1956||Australia def. English League XIII 19–15||7,811||1956–57 Kangaroo Tour|
|4||7 October 1959||Leigh def. Australia 18–17||11,932||1959–60 Kangaroo Tour|
|5||6 October 1963||Australia def. Leigh 33–7||9,625||1963–64 Kangaroo Tour|
|6||11 November 1973||Australia def. Leigh 31–4||2,607||1973 Kangaroo Tour|
|7||11 November 1980||New Zealand def. Leigh 22–5||3,166||1980 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|8||3 November 1982||Australia def. Leigh 44–4||7,680||1982 Kangaroo Tour|