Sat 31
First Team
Wigan Riversiders
Rugby League returns to Chester

Rugby League returns to Chester

By Jim Green
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Chester Gladiators brought Rugby League back to the city and battled well before eventually going down 50-16 to Wigan Riversiders.

Having been led onto the field by Roman guards and accompanied by the Chester Goddesses cheerleading team the visitors kicked off and raced into an early twelve point lead, taking advantage of a slow start by Chester to score two tries.

However, the Gladiators regained their composure and Mike Lillenfield burrowed his way over the line to get the hosts off the mark. The South African added the conversion to make the score 12-6.

Wigan, who went into the game boasting three wins already this season, extended their lead courtesy of some excellent play out wide but Chester continued to work hard in both attack and defence.

The Gladiators thought they had scored a second try just minutes before the break when winger Gwyn Evans picked up a loose ball and touched down but the effort was controversially ruled out by the official for a knock on.

Despite the searing hit there was no let up in the quality of rugby after the break with both sets of forwards produced some excellent work. Surging runs and fierce hits were the order of the day ensuring the crowd were kept entertained.

Chester added a second try when man of the match Dom Boyd picked up the ball at the scrum base and charged across the whitewash for a fine solo effort.

As the game neared its conclusion the heat began to take its toll on both teams and Wigan added three late tries as the Gladiators defenders tired.

But the final word went to the home side as debutant Martin Cormack intercepted a loose Wigan pass and just managed to evade the Riversiders defenders to give Chester a well deserved third try on the stroke of full-time.

Despite the result chairman Jim Green was delighted with the teams performance and feels that the future of Rugby League in Chester is bright.

"It was a fantastic day and another encouraging performance. There was a good crowd in attendance and a lot of people commented on how good it was to see the sport back in Chester.

"Wigan are likely to be challenging for honours at the end of the season and I think their experience told at times but seven of our team were playing their first game of Rugby League and we can all hold our heads high" said Green.

Chester Gladiators are in action on Saturday June 14th when they travel to Wirral RUFC to face Clatterbridge Crusaders.


1. Bud Skinkis
2. Pat Forrester-Roberts
3. Paul Foster
4. Dom Boyd
5. Gwyn Evans
6. Mike Lillenfield
7. Matthew Parkinson
8. Martin Cormack
9. Sam Philps
10. Jim Green
11. Paul Kitchingman
12. John Gill
13. Damon Williams

14. Tom Hayden
15. Andy Hollinger
16. Ray Tindall
17. James Wrathall
18. Matty Hallmark
19. Dave Thomas
20. Stuart Davies


Tries - Mike Lillenfield, Dom Boyd & Martin Cormack

Goals - Mike Lillenfield (2/3)

Photos of the day can be found here.

The club would like to thank Roman Tours Ltd, the Chester Goddesses, St Helens RLFC, Wigan Warriors, Widnes Vikings, Warrington Wolves, Chester RUFC, Wigan Riversiders and everybody else who contributed to a hugely successful event.

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Match date

Sat 31, May 2008