SPORTING history was made on Saturday (February 26) when the Wirral peninsula hosted professional rugby league for the first time in 118 years.

North Wales Crusaders were the visitors to Caldy's Paton Field where they ran out impressive 30-8 winners against Hunslet in their rugby league BetFred Challenge Cup tie.

With Wales’ U20s hosting matches at Crusader's Stadiwm Eirias in rugby union’s Six Nations, the Colwyn Bay-based club were informed they were unable to play the match at home because of the number of fixtures in a short space of time. 

The club had been working tirelessly to search for an alternative venue in the North Wales region but, with the short notice, options have been difficult to come by. 

But although they play a different code, Caldy RFC  agreed to host the fixture, meaning Saturday was the first time professional rugby league had been played on the Wirral since the now defunct Birkenhead appeared in the Challenge Cup against Marsh Hornets in 1904.


Crusaders chief executive, Andy Moulsdale, said: “We’d like to thank Caldy RFC for their fantastic support with hosting our Challenge Cup tie.

“After a brilliant win at Swinton, we’ve had to face some challenges with this tie, but I hope all our supporters understand the position we’ve found ourselves in.

“Unfortunately, we couldn’t hold the match in Colwyn Bay because of the other events already pencilled in at the stadium over this upcoming period.

“We’ve been speaking to numerous stadiums in the North Wales area, but it’s been a real challenge because of the short notice and with other sports currently in the middle of their season."

A crowd of 452 watched Crusaders through to fifth round for the first time since 2015.