- Workington Town
Infobox_esl_club | clubname = Workington Town
fullname = Workington Town Rugby League Football Club
emblem = Workington
coat of arms
colours = Blue & white
founded = 1945
National League Two
web = [http://www.townrlfc.com/index.php http://www.townrlfc.com/index.php]
Workington Town is a
rugby leagueteam playing in Workingtonin West Cumbria. They play in National League Two. Their stadium is called Derwent Park, which they share with Workington Comets, a speedway team.
Their nickname is simply 'Town', though they are sometimes referred to as 'Worky' by fans of other teams.
Their local rivals are
Whitehaven RLFC, who joined the league three years after Workington.
They were founded in 1945, immediately after the
Second World War. They were the first side from the West Cumbria area to enter the professional league, though rugby league had long been strong in the area. They played at Borough Park. The first match against Broughton Rangerson Saturday 25 August 1945 attracted a crowd of 4,100 to Borough Park. Workington went on to win 27-5. Gus Rismanjoined Workington as player-coach in August 1946 when they had been in the Northern Rugby League for only one season. In his eight years at the club, he made them into a team capable of beating Wigan or anyone else in the league. He led them to Challenge Cup and Championship glory at the age of 41 in 1952. There was a club-record 20,403 for the third round Cup game against St Helens. Town won the Championship final by beating Warrington at Maine Road. In the final of the Challenge Cup, the first to be televised, Town beat Featherstone Rovers18-10 in front of a crowd of 72,093 at Wembley Stadium. During the 1954/55 season, Workington Town made it to the Challenge Cup final but were beaten 21-12 by Barrow.
Town moved to
Derwent Parkin 1956. Workington lost in the in 1958 Challenge Cup final and one week later, they lost in the Championship final at Odsal.
In 1962, the league was split into East and West of the Pennines; Widnes and Workington Town met at Central Park, Wigan, in the first final of the Western Division Championship on Saturday 10th November 1962. With two minutes remaining, Lowdon dropped a goal to earn Workington a 9-9 draw. Later in the month Workington won the replay 10-0.
The record attendance at Derwent Park was set in 1965 when 17,741 spectators turned up for a third round Challenge Cup match against Wigan. Town also won the Lancashire Cup beating Wigan in the final in 1977 and appeared in four consecutive finals between 1976 and 1979 (losing the other three all to Widnes in close games).
The last of those four finals was staged at the Willows on Saturday 8th December 1979, and attracted a crowd of 6,887. Widnes were firm favourites to lift the cup and held the Cumbrians at bay to register an 11-0 victory. Probably as a result of the three previous finals, several top class forwards caught the eye of the wealthy Lancashire clubs who enticed them away from Derwent Park.
Workington won the Second Division Championship and Divisional Premiership trophy double in 1993/4, having been beaten finalists in the 1992/3 Divisional Premiership whilst in the 3rd Division. When the Super League was set up, it was proposed that Workington merge with Barrow, Carlisle and Whitehaven to form a Cumbrian super club. This was, however, resisted and an unmerged Workington took part in Super League but would record only two wins all season. They finished bottom of the table and were relegated to the
Northern Ford Premiershipwith significant debts.
In 2002 Town dropped into National League two as a result of losing to Dewsbury in what was the fore-runner of the NL2 Grand Final. Billy McGinty took over as coach on May 25 2003.
In 2003, Ged Stokes was in charge of the New Zealand A-team on their tour of England, at the end of the tour, he was offered the vacant coaching job at Town. Workington were at a low ebb and had only seven players in their squad. [http://www.whitehaven-news.co.uk/1.106101]
A Challenge Cup game against
Leeds Rhinosbrought a bumper crowd that allowed the club to clear their debts. Ged Stokes was sacked, despite being completely exonerated by the RFL, following a club disciplinary hearing in April 2007, following an alleged row with a visiting supporter during the Northern Rail Cup clash with Barrow two months earlier. Stokes took legal action against the club citing unfair dismissal and the club eventually made an offer of settlement in November 2007 just days before the case was due to be heard in the High Court. [http://www.whitehaven-news.co.uk/1.106101]
Assistant coaches Craig Barker and Les Ashe took over and led the team to the National League Two play-offs. Dave Rotheram was appointed the new head coach of Workington Town on 26 September 2007.
Notable Former players
- Championship Winners: 1950-51- Beaten Finalists: 1957-58- Division Two Champions: 1993-94- Challenge Cup Winners: 1951-52- Beaten Finalists: 1954-55, 1957-58- Second Division/Divisional Premiership Winners: 1993-94- Beaten Finalists: 1992-93- Lancashire Cup Winners: 1977-78- Beaten Finalists: 1976-77, 1978-79, 1979-80- Western Division Championship Winners: 1962-63
* [http://www.townrlfc.com/index.php Official site]
* [http://forums.rlfans.com/viewforum.php?f=80 Workington Town forum on rlfans.com]
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