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Memorable Matches From The Biff Era

(m14) 1954 CHALLENGE CUP REPLAY, WARRINGTON -V- HALIFAX -Record Crowd 102,000

Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Friday, May 04, 2012




Get some more beers, or make another coffee, take your time and have some fun.

from Quigs "As mentioned previously, I am not a rugby league historian, a rugby league expert. I am just a lover of this era of Rugby League." ... This is a recollection of some of the battles, and the trench warfare that I, and others watched over time. Some are matches that I was told about, or read about.

MATCH SUMMARY: Played at Bradford's Odsal Stadium before a then world record crowd of over 102,000 spectators. Harry Bath played a leading hand in this game.

View the Vid of the match -  click the link (Note there is no sound so a timeline of the game is posted FYI)

Video Link -->

1954 Challenge Cup REPLAY - Warrington -v- Halifax- record crowd game

Added 24-Dec-2014

Odsal Stadium, Bradford, Yorkshire. (Timeline of match video)
Warrington bursting through for their first try. Challinor receives, and dashes through to touch down. Players congratulate. SV crowd. Score, Warrington 3-0. SV other end, Halifax pressing, they break loose from scrum. Quick passing a forward pass, more passing until Lynch receives, dashes over line to touch down. Halifax players congratulate but point disallowed because of forward pass. SV crowd. S. Griffiths kicking penalty goal. Score, Warrington 3-2. GV crowds still swarming into the stadium at half-time. SV Halifax players resting at half time. SV Warrington players resting at half time. SV crowd sitting on touch lines. LV Warrington attacking and bursting through the Halifax "25". A brilliant solo run is halted just short of the line. SV crowd. SV Bath kicking penalty goal to make score Warrington 5-2. Ball over post. SV crowd. SV Warrington at other end, working ball across field, but they concede a penalty. LV Griffiths kicking a great penalty goal, ball over. Pan crowd cheering. 5-4. LV Halifax fighting to stop Warrington break away. SV Halifax fighting - tough play. SV Crowd. LV Gerry Helme at other end, bursting through to somersault over line, for Warrington's last try. Score 8-4. LV crowd, storm pitch. SCU Captain receiving cup.

This Vid found on good old Youtube

Link Status: .. Still Active

Players involved ... 23, 103,

The 1954 Wembley Challenge Cup Replay which was played before 103,000 spectators, a then world record.

(In my mind it is still a record- not thousands of freebies as with our Aussie claim - these guys just stopped counting back in 1954)


The Era has received a brilliant recollection of this game from Prof. John Shepherd, who as a 15 year old was part of the crowd on that day......it is a great read....see your stories for link or just click here

Odsal History World Record Crowd

A still of a newsreel from the record crowd match-

Odsal has been at the forefront of many aspects of rugby league and holds many records relating to the sport and its supporters. When many people think of Odsal one image springs to mind. The picture of the world record breaking crowd for a rugby league match. Now officially held by Stadium Australia when in 1999 they had a crowd of 107, 558 for the 1999 NRL Grand Final. The crowd at Odsal on 5th May 1954 for the Warrington v Halifax Challenge Cup Final replay was officially announced as 102,569 however it is widely acknowledged that the correct figure should have been in the region of 120,000.

When it was decided the replay of the final was to be at Odsal nobody realised that the capacity of the stadium would ever be under jeopardy. They had planned it to be an evening kick off, but it was changed to 7.00pm to avoid the rush hour traffic and the match was on a Wednesday night. As the original game had been thought by many to be a let down and the fact that Laurel & Hardy were playing at the Alhambra on the same night nobody realised what the extent of the crowd would actually be.

A set of shuttle buses were put on from town starting at 4:25pm, and at the same time 20 trains that had been specially laid on from Warrington were turning up at the nearby (now unused) Low Moor railway station. The trains

People sat several deep on the pitch up to the edge of the playing area due to the vast amount spectators at the match

carried an estimated 12,000 passengers. On the day there were 100 gatemen and 150 policemen on duty, more than enough for the expected crowd of 70,000. The gates opened at 5.00 pm by which time some people had already been queuing an hour and a half. At an hour before kick off there were already an estimated 60,000 in the ground.

As the picture shows people were even sat on the pitch because of the vast size of the crowd, however despite the numbers that turned up and the primitive nature of the ground no untoward incidents were recorded. There were some casualties but these were only from people fainting because people who realised they were not going to be able to see the match tried to leave which resulted in some people being slightly crushed and fainting.

The reason many people today still say the actual crowd figure was around 120,000 is that many fences were found flat after the match giving the appearance many had found their way into the ground without paying. Due to the nature of the old stadium there were also many places young children could sneak through and men could climb over. Since Stadium Australia took the record there has been talk of the crowd figure being re-calculated to what many people believe it should be. However this could prove difficult.

Program from Halifax v Warrington Replay.

This attracted a crowd of 64,453. You can tell it isn't the World Record crowd as there is no-one on the pitch which is clearly shown in the other photo. However it does make you wonder where the other 60,000 spectators fitted into at the World Record game.

If only a fifth of a crowd of that size turned up at Odsal today the traffic chaos would be enormous. But 45 years ago few families owned one car let alone two. It was reported that by 10pm - an hour or so after the final whistle - all traffic had been dispersed from the Odsal area. It takes longer than that nowadays to get away from some grounds and there's nowhere near the 102,000 crowd they had at Odsal.

The final score on the night was 8-4 to Warrington, with the match winning try being scored by Gerry Helme.


(The Era has received a brilliant recollection of this game from Prof. John Shepherd, who as a 15 year old was part of the crowd on that day......it is a great read....see your stories for link or just click here.)

(See Favorite Moments Page - I had wonderful experience when I visited Bradford and the Odsal Stadium)


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