According to my records, the Wigan clubs of 1872 and 1879 have played a combined total of 462 matches in several types of competitions, such as friendlies, cup matches, benefit games and tour matches. We have played 97 different opponents with a win percentage of 60.17% , loss percentage of 25.97% and drawn games accounting for 13.41%. That's not bad at all.
Here, you will find a list of clubs that Wigan have faced in alphabetical order including the relevant stats accompanying it and a bit more.
Our fiercest rivals were of course Aspull. On twenty six occasions did the Villagers face the Black Diamonds of Wigan. In the earlier days of the mid-1880s, Aspull usually lowered Wigan's flag. It was only when economics played a part (paying players) did Aspull soon see their top players depart for the town team.
It is unusual to think that at one point, our biggest rivals across Billinge Hill were in fact the St. Helens Recreation club, as opposed to St. Helens. "Monster" crowds were usually reported and out-did the Wigan v St. Helens crowds nine-times out of ten! today of course, it is a different story. But an interesting fact happened on the evening of 24th January, 1889.
During Tours to South Wales and Devonshire, Wigan played may a famous Club. Swansea, Cardiff, Neath and Llanelli can all claim to have once or twice played the World Famous Wigan Rugby Club. In Wales, Wigan did well, apart from when they faced Cardiff. Three matches and three losses is all we need to know for this part of the website. Such were South Welsh rivalries, the Cardiff club often supplied Wigan with players to attend matches when we played against Neath, Pontypridd or Swansea!
A case of mistaken identity now. On Christmas Eve, 1888, the Wigan club had heard of the fortunes of a rugby club from Hartlepool who by all accounts were 'ripping it up' in the rugby world, so to speak. So, the Wigan committee decided to try and attract a good gate and sent out an invitation to the East Coast and back came a reply by the Hartlepool Rangers. Once the teams lined up at the Frog Lane ground, it was immediately evident that the wrong team from Hartlepool turned up! Hartlepool Rovers were the form, exciting team - not the Rangers! Wigan ended up playing a mixture of first and second team players and won quite comfortably. It would be like in today's money, Wigan v. Beverley! Red faces all round at the Wigan headquarters at the Legs of Man Hotel.
A team consisting of Jim Slevin, Jack Anderton, Hindley Smith, Jack Hunter, Tom Brayshay et al., faced an old-rugbyite team of Owens College, Manchester in November 1885. These guys were one of the old guard of Rugby circles in Lancashire when gentlemen still ruled the roost, as opposed to the peasants of towns like Wigan or Warrington. Wigan annihilated Owens College, scoring 3 goals, 8 tries and 8 minor points to nil. This was a rout. Owen's College requested Wigan to send their second team for the reverse fixture. It was also a sign that the old guard clubs of Manchester and Liverpool, those who held power in Lancashire, were starting to lose their grip of the game played by gentlemen. Faced against hungry, skilful Colliermen, they had no chance.
When Wigan faced the Parish Church during the Wigan Union Charity Cup semi-final of 1884, it was a bloodbath. A score of 4 goals, 9 tries and 'numerous' minor points were racked up by Wigan on a field adjacent to the Parish Church. So much was the defeat and battering, that the Church decided to pack in rugby altogether and change codes to the Association game a few weeks later!