Watersheddings was the site of a former rugby league stadium in the Watersheddings area of Oldham, in Greater Manchester, England. Historically it was in Lancashire, lying on the A672 (Ripponden Road) approximately 2 miles north east of Oldham town centre.
|Oldham Rugby League Club (1889-1997)|
Watersheddings was reportedly the highest professional RL ground in the UK at 770 ft above sea level, which would also list it as the highest ground of any professional sport in the UK.
The stadium known as Watersheddings, named after the area of Oldham that it was located in, was built in 1889. It was constructed on the east side of a reservoir, Ruby Mill and Longfield Mill and north of Longfield Lane. At the same time the Oldham Cricket Ground was built adjacent to the stadium on its east side and a lawn tennis ground was constructed on its north side.
Oldham Football Club (more commonly known as Oldham Rugby League Football Club) moved from their Clarksfield Ground and played their first match at the new Watersheddings stadium on 28 September 1889 against Swinton.
In 1904 Watershedding was selected to host the very first Rugby league International between England and Other Nationalities on New Year's Day 1904 but the game was cancelled due to a frozen pitch,the game was moved to April and Central Park, Wigan and in 1912, the stadium achieved its highest ever attendance of 28,000 against Huddersfield. In the 1914/15 season Watershedding was selected to host the Challenge Cup final
|1914–15||Huddersfield||37–3||St. Helens||Watersheddings, Oldham||8,000|
In 1933 the cricket ground was demolished making way for the Oldham Greyhound Stadium; the south stand and kennels were erected next to the south-east corner of the Watersheddings ground. The Watersheddings floodlights were used for the first time on Wednesday 20 October 1965, when a crowd of 6,333 attended an under-24 international between Great Britain and France.
The club left Watersheddings in 1997 and, now called Oldham R.L.F.C., moved to Oldham Athletic AFC's Boundary Park stadium before they moved to Whitebank Stadium in 2010. The Watersheddings site was redeveloped into housing now called Watersheddings Way and Hutchins Lane.
Watersheddings also hosted numerous county vs county games with Lancashire hosting various other county sides including the Rugby League War of the Roses matches against Yorkshire. The results were as follows:
|1||7 December 1895||Yorkshire def. Lancashire 8–0||9,059|
|2||21 November 1896||Lancashire def. Yorkshire 7–3||7,000|
|3||16 October 1897||Lancashire def. Cheshire 11–10||7,000|
|4||21 October 1899||Lancashire def. Cumberland 17–7||8,500|
|5||12 November 1904||Yorkshire def. Lancashire 14–5||8,500|
Australia and New ZealandEdit
The stadium, in its time, played host to many Australian and New Zealand national teams who played tour games against Oldham and the Lancashire county side, the first being against the 1907 touring New Zealand team, the last being against Australia in 1986.
|1||23 November 1907||Oldham def. New Zealand 8–7||15,000||1907–08 All Golds tour|
|2||23 November 1907||Lancashire def. New Zealand 20–4|
|3||26 December 1908||Oldham def. Australia 11–5||15,000||1908–09 Kangaroo Tour|
|4||11 November 1911||Oldham def. Australasia 14–8||10,000||1911–12 Kangaroo Tour|
|5||26 November 1921||Australasia def. Oldham 16–5||15,344||1921–22 Kangaroo Tour|
|6||16 January 1922||Oldham def. Australasia 15–5||6,000|
|7||23 October 1926||Oldham def. New Zealand 15–10||16,000||1926–27 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|8||2 November 1929||Australasia def. Oldham 18–10||19,284||1929–30 Kangaroo Tour|
|9||9 September 1933||Australia def. Oldham 38–6||5,000||1933–34 Kangaroo Tour|
|10||6 November 1937||Australia def. Oldham 10–6||12,265||1937–38 Kangaroo Tour|
|11||25 October 1947||New Zealand def. Oldham 18–8||17,239||1947–48 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|12||4 December 1948||Australia def. Oldham 27–7||14,798||1948–49 Kangaroo Tour|
|13||29 September 1951||Oldham def. New Zealand 21–18||15,174||1951–52 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|14||15 September 1952||Australia drew. Oldham 7–7||19,620||1952–53 Kangaroo Tour|
|15||29 October 1955||New Zealand def. Oldham 15-13||14,700||1955–56 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|16||7 November 1956||Oldham def. Australia 21–2||8,956||1956–57 Kangaroo Tour|
|17||3 October 1959||Australia def. Oldham 25–14||17,621||1959–60 Kangaroo Tour|
|18||4 September 1961||Oldham / Rochdale XIII def. New Zealand 10–8||8,795||1961 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|19||5 October 1963||Australia def. Oldham 12–4||11,773||1963–64 Kangaroo Tour|
|20||31 August 1965||New Zealand def. Oldham 5–2||10,333||1965 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|21||11 November 1967||Australia def. Oldham 18-8||3,329||1967–68 Kangaroo Tour|
|22||27 October 1971||New Zealand def. Oldham 24–13||1,872||1971 New Zealand Kiwis tour|
|23||19 October 1973||Australia def. Oldham 44–10||2,770||1973 Kangaroo Tour|
|24||4 November 1975||Australia def. Oldham 20–10||3,675||1975 Australian Rugby League World Cup tour|
|25||4 November 1986||Australia def. Oldham 22–16||5,678||1986 Kangaroo Tour|
- "Blue plaque unveiled to mark birthplace of rugby league in Oldham". Manchester Evening News.
- "OS County Series Yorkshire 1894". old-maps.co.uk.
- Barnes, Julia (1988). Daily Mirror Greyhound Fact File. Ringpress Books. p. 295. ISBN 0-948955-15-5.
- "Records". Oldham Rugby League Football Club.