Sure Gate Wilderspool - 1922 to 1945
The Northern Union changes its name to Rugby League.
Two drawn games with Widnes in the Lancashire Cup led to a third being played at Wigan. Warrington eventually winning 13-2, before being overwhelmed by Swinton in the semi-final.
The Supporters Club is formed, with subscription of one shilling per annum. They had the object of "supporting in every possible way the best interests of the Warrington Football Club and Rugby Football League". The club was very successful raising £525 for Warrington in its first season. This money and over £1,500 given by Club officials helped to ease the financial position.
The Club made a number of signing to strengthen the side, including Arthur Child a winger from Wales, E. Catterall from Dewsbury, J. Donovan from Oldham and Fred Ryder. Ryder remained at Wilderspool for many years after his retirement as a player as trainer.
Bill Cunliffe was selected for his second tour of Australasia. He was accompanied by Mr Edmund Osborne who had the honour of being selected as secretary manager. The tourists left England on 11th April and returned on 21st September. Cunliffe played in all three tests against Australia, making it seven appearances in a row. The first two tests were won 22 3 and 5-3, the last was lost 21-11. He also played in the first test against New Zealand which was lost 16-8.
In 1926 the Club's efforts in ground improvements are recognised by the Northern Rugby League when Wilderspool hosts its first Lancashire Cup Final
Arthur Frowen a rugby union half back from the Midlands joined the Club, but he took over at fullback from Ben Jolley.
Two extra forty feet bays are added to each end of the main stand, to accommodate an extra 600. The Chairman of the Rugby League opened the extensions to the main stand. A loan of £700 from the British Rugby League helped to finance the cost. The Supporters Club raised money to provide covered accommodation on the Popular side of the ground. At that time there was no terracing (only ash bankings) anywhere to be seen. At the Fletcher Street end there was only a wooden hut which doubled as dressing rooms and a refreshment kiosk.
Warrington had their most successful league season to date. A run of ten wins from Christmas Day help the side to finish second in the league table and make the top four play-offs for the first time. The Wirepullers reached the Championship Final by defeating Swinton 11-8. The Final at St Helens was lost 22-10 to Wigan. Peacock and Ryder scored tries and Catterall kicked 2 goals.
Mr Edmund Osborne was elected Chairman of the Rugby Football League.
A concrete wall was constructed all round the playing area, to completely enclose the pitch.
In October, Warrington beat the second New Zealand tourists 17-5, in front of a modest crowd of 5,000. Flynn (2), Tranter, Parry and Green scored the tries and Catterall kicked a goal.
The Club's efforts in ground improvements are recognised by the Northern Rugby League when Wilderspool hosts its first Lancashire Cup Final. A crowd of 19,439 braved the elements to witness St Helens beat local rivals St Helens Recs 10-2, after a great battle.
In December Jack Miller made the first of his 526 appearances for Warrington.
Wilderspool was chosen to host the Rugby League Championship Final. Swinton defeated St Helens Recs 13-8, in front of 24,432 spectators. The game and the gate exceeded all expectations and Wilderspool clearly established itself as a suitable venue for such occasions.
The Supporters Club presented the Club with an imposing new scoreboard.
Wilderspool was again honoured, this time by hosting the Lancashire v Yorkshire county match. The match was one of the finest exhibitions of rugby seen at the ground.
In November Dai Davies is signed from Broughton Rangers for £750.
On 1st January Billy Holding joined from Maryport, for £175, after trials in the "A" team.
A very poor league season was brightened by a good run in the Challenge Cup. Wins over Kinsley, Hull KR and Huddersfield were followed by a tremendous victory over Leeds in the semi-final, with Kirk scoring the only try of the match.
Thus Warrington appeared in the last Challenge Cup Final before its move to Wembley. The Club lost 5-3 to Swinton, at Central Park, Wigan, in front of 33,909 spectators. Despite an injury to W. Kirk, Warrington fought heroically before finally submitting to defeat in a gruelling game. Seeling scored the Warrington try.
Billy and Tommy Cunliffe's joint testimonial raised £187 17s 8d each.
Mr Edmund Osborne was again selected as secretary manager of the Great Britain tour of Australia.
September sees Warrington pay £600 to Broughton Rangers for centre Billy Dingsdale.
Wilderspool again hosts the Lancashire Cup Final, and attracts a crowd of 19,000 who witness Wigan beat Widnes 5-4.
On Boxing Day Jimmy Tranter makes his 439th and final appearance for the Club at Rochdale Hornets, he scored 120 tries for Warrington. This match was one of eleven successive wins to recover from a mediocre start to the season to move up the table.
In January Warrington score 100 points against Bradford Northern in two league matches. Dingsdale scored four tries in each match and Blinkhorn scored 40 points.
Warrington beat Leeds 8-0 in the first round of the Challenge Cup in one of the finest matches seen at Wilderspool. It was a ding-dong struggle from beginning to end. Flynn and Blinkhorn scored the tries, with the latter also kicking a goal.
A Top Four finished was denied by defeats in the last two matches of the season to mid table sides Dewsbury and St Helens.
The first Challenge Cup final at Wembley was played out between Wigan and Dewsbury, the latter had won at Wilderspool in the third round. The Club organised a special train down to London for the final, and more than 500 supporters made the journey. Lord Daresbury a Warrington vice president presented the Cup and the medals.
An extra bay was built to the main stand at the railway end.
Bob Anderton replaced Edmund Osborne as the Club's representative on the Rugby League Council, after the latter retires.
A record crowd for a Lancashire match, as 22,739 see the county side lose 14-29 to Australia in September.
Warrington win their second Lancashire Cup by beating Salford 15-2 at Wigan, before a crowd of 21,012. Kirk, Meridith and Blinkhorn scored tries and Holding kicked three goals. It had taken narrow wins over Leigh, Barrow and Oldham for Warrington to reach the final.
In December Tubby Thompson scores all Warrington's points, 3 tries and 4 goals, as they defeat Australia 17-8. Griffiths a Welsh triallist made his debut at stand off and was subsequently signed by the Club. Warrington were without Davies, Flynn, Meredith and Holding who were on County duty.
Once again a Challenge Cup semi-final was held at Wilderspool. A ground record crowd of 25,500 saw eventual winners Widnes win through 10-3 against Barrow.
Three defeats and a draw in the last five matches again saw Warrington just miss out on a play-off place. An open style of rugby saw three of the three-quarters score over twenty tries, Dingsdale 25, Thompson 22 and Blinkhorn 21.
With a record four representative matches in the season attracting over 71,000 spectators Wilderspool had rightly earned the title of "Sure Gate Venue". Without doubt Warrington had one of the most loyal sets of supporters in the Rugby League.
Great Britain hooker Nat Bentham was signed from Halifax. He played in the first two Tests against Australia as a Halifax player and the final two as Warrington player. He was joined in the first two Tests by Billy Dingsdale and Tom Blinkhorn in the final deciding Test, which Great Britain won 3-0. Bill Shankland played standoff for Australia in all four Tests scoring three tries.
A civic reception for the 1929 Lancashire Cup winning side