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Oldlady's Ground Guide - Leigh Centurions - Revisited
Posted by southstander on August 03 2005 - 07:33:44

One Season Wonders
by Oldlady

Following the demise of the old ground guides, when we had the apocalyptic server crash last October, we've decided to reconstruct the Ground Guide section.

On a week-by-week basis, for all away games this year, Oldlady will give us her guide to our place of pilgrimage, this week assisted by Mutt 1's (Many Thanks) advice on where to eat and drink.

This week we revisit Leigh Centurions.

Leigh Centurions - The Coliseum

I have to own up…I have never been to Hilton Park. I have heard tales of it however and I imagine it holds many memories for Centurions’ fans. When Leigh re-entered the Rugby Football Union in 1946, post-war austerity meant that times were hard. At the start of this season Rugby League World featured Tommy Sale, Leigh’s 86 year old timekeeper, who at that time, was both captain and groundsman. He was quoted as saying, “The reason the ground belongs to Leigh people is that Leigh people built it. They were hard times, rationing was still in place and there was a huge shortage of building materials. But there was a wonderful spirit. Supporters banded together, gave their time and set about the task in hand.” An auction was held for the right to lay the last pieces of turf, railway sleepers were used as terracing because of the shortage of concrete, and old air-raid shelters were used for some of the walls that still stand around the ground.

Don’t expect all that much to have changed! It’s still grotty!

I gather that the building work going on will make a good deal of difference but it still looks dated and tatty. Changing its name from Hilton Park to the Coliseum is amusing though. I wonder what Ian Millward thought of the place when he was there? And is it printable?? The timing of their entry to SL is unfortunate as all this work may be completed just in time for them to be one of the 2 relegations this season. It may all be futile anyway as they hope to move to a new stadium in two years time as capacity is so limited. Tommy Sale recalled a crowd of 32 000 in the old days and called it ‘a lovely little ground’. Not many would agree. Eddie Waring used to refer to the “Satanic Mills End” in reference to the skyline of mills and mines to be seen behind one set of sticks . Darren Abram, in pre-season build-up, made much of the need to make their ‘Super League Glamour Boy opponents’ as uncomfortable as possible. “The players aren’t going to find a nice shiny coathanger for their tracksuits – they might have to make do with a rusty nail,” he warned, tongue only half in cheek, “and they can expect a hostile crowd hanging over the barriers to give them abuse.”

There is a seated stand along one side and a strange shorter stand straddling the half way line on the other. This has seating at the back and standing at the front, with some cover. The ends are uncovered terracing which is fairly steep. Apparently they are not allowing any moving around the ground so you have to be sure to go in through the correct turnstiles.

Look out for a rather large Roman Centurion and at last week’s televised game we also saw two pig-headed creatures – mascots not commentators!

* Remember – it is all ticket!

Best:

Place to sit... Away fans usually stand on the Atherleigh Way Terrace (Asda end)

Place to park... Street parking and in retail park, but may be best to look like a shopper I’m told.

Place to eat...If you are going to be wanting food there is a Toby Cavery on the East lancs(A580) and there is a Wacky werehouse on theretail park next to the Bypass next to the famous Kamakazi roundabout(Wigan Councils finest creation) heading into Leigh as well this is also only 5 minutes from the ground there is also a KFC on the same retail park. If you find yourself in the town centre you have the choice of about 20 Kebab/pizza shops and curry houses just stay away from Mr Eats even the rats won't eat there. I can reccommend the Casba next door to the Leigh arms opposite the bus station on King street. Theres also a Mc Ds in the centre just watch out for the chavs.

Place to drink...If you want a beer pre match there are plenty of pubs within walking distance of the ground the best would probabaly be The Avenue its quite a big pub with cheap beer at £1.44 for carling and £1.34 for Tetleys plus its only a 5 minute walk from the ground heading towards the town centre opposite Netto unfortunatly kids would have to be out before 7 there should also be a game on the 2 big screens I'll have to dig out the 71 CC final for you. Alternatively there is the Vic across the road from B&Q at the side of the ground this used to be child friendly not so sure about nowadays it is a little on the small side though. All the pubs are quite welcoming and there aren't any no go places really.

Directions: M62 J 14 – A580 (signposted Liverpool), following signs for St Helen’s. S/o at roundabout with Greyhound Hotel on corner and R at next set of lights onto A579 (signposted Leigh A572, Bolton and Pennington Flash) Pass Pennington Flash and Golf Course on right. Over bridge S/o at roundabout. Asda on left, football ground on right. R at traffic lights, then R again into Glebe St, next R is Chadwick St and ground is straight ahead.

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