Warrington Wolves
The Halliwell Jones Stadium




Ground No. 2
Visited - Sunday 28th May 2006
Result - Warrington Wolves 46-28 Castleford Tigers
Competition - Super League
Attendance - 9508

Having enjoyed my trip to Knowsley Road a week earlier, with no plans for this weekend I decided to take in another Rugby League game, and this time at a ground that I’d been wanting to visit for quite a while, The Halliwell Jones Stadium, home to Warrington Wolves.

Setting off just after 10am from Wolverhampton, the journey northwards to Warrington went well, with the train being direct, and arriving in on time at 11:15am. With it being a Sunday, there wasn’t a great deal to do, so I headed straight off for the ground, with the walk not taking long from Bank Quay station. Approaching the ground from this direction, one surprise I found was how tightly hemmed in it was. Most new grounds tend to look lost in the middle of huge car-parks, but the East, West and South stands were all built close up to the roads behind them, with only the North Stand having open land behind it, in the form of Tesco’s car-park. From the outside, the ground looks ultra-modern, with all four sides having a brick exterior topped by white metal cladding, however despite how new it obviously is, the tight location and relatively small area of the site really help give it a more traditional feeling, say of a ground redeveloped as opposed to the usual retail park experience that newer arenas purvey. Another notable feature of the exterior was in the corner between the North and East Stands, where a tribute to Warrington legend Brian Bevan proudly stood. As with a lot of other clubs, this comprised a statue and wall of remembrance, where fans can buy bricks with their own message on, however unlike virtually every other (football) club in the land that has simply copied this idea, the Brian Bevan wall featured a mural of Bevan himself with the bricks being different colours. That was fairly impressive, and really stood out, unlike the usual plain wall with a name above it. The statue was also quite unique in that it stood about 15 feet above the ground, attached to a pole!

After having taken a few pictures and collected my ticket/visited the club shop, I headed off to town for a few hours, before eventually coming back at about 2pm, going through the turnstiles and inside.

I’d chosen to stand in the West Stand, which offered an excellent view from the terraces. As expected, facilities here were top class, and even though the concourse was slightly bare with it being constructed of grey breeze blocks, it did the job. To our left was the North Stand, which was a good sized, all-seated single tier stand that looked particularly impressive and was matched in a similar style opposite in the East Stand, which again was all-seated with an attractive mixture of blue and yellow seats. Unlike the North and East sides of the ground, to our right, the South Stand didn’t contain any seats, instead a good sized, modern terrace that ran the full length of the pitch, with a TV gantry suspended above.

Not usually being a fan of new stadiums, even the more unusual designs such as the KC Stadium (Hull), the Halliwell Jones did seem to be an exception to the rule, and looked very impressive, with just the right mixture of standing and seating, something that is sadly overlooked with football grounds (or even worse, considered dangerous depending on what division a club is in…).

After having found a good spot to stand in, the game eventually got started. Despite Warrington being the big favourites to win, it was the visitors who looked the brightest early on, and they deservedly took the lead in the 8th minute, when Michael Shenton went over, with his try being converted by Craig Huby. Unfortunately for Castleford, they couldn’t build on that, and the next try was from the impressive Henry Fa’afili. Due to the conversion kick being in a difficult place, Wolves didn’t take the lead, with the scores staying at 4-6, but it didn’t take them long to go ahead when Logan Swann raced over, and Lee Briers redeemed himself with a successful kick. Briers was at the centre of the game, setting up Jon Clarke for the next try, before making it 16-6, and then it was his kick that was collected by Richie Barnett who easily ran home in the 35th minute, with Briers again converting. There was time for another Warrington try in the 38th minute, this time from Brent Grose, although Briers was again unlucky with his kick, meaning the half-time score was 26-6 with the home side totally dominant.

In the second half, Castleford came out looking more determined, and it didn’t take them long to get 4 points back, when Shenton got his second try of the afternoon, but with the kick being missed, normal service was resumed when Warrington went 38-10 up, thanks to tries from Brent Grose and Paul Wood. Castleford didn’t lie down at this, and started to come back at the home side with Peter Lupton going over in the 62nd minute, and Deon Bird two minutes later, both kicks being converted by Craig Huby. Lee Briers increased Warrington’s advantage in the 67th minute with a penalty kick, but Danny Sculthorpe gave the visitors hope when he smashed his way through the Wolves defence, with Huby converting to make it 40-28 with 10 minutes to go. Unfortunately for the visitors, Warrington had the last bit of the action, putting the game beyond Castleford in the 73rd minute when Lee Briers intercepted a pass from Sculthorpe and raced home before converting the kick, making the final score 46-28 to the Wolves.

Despite the late Castleford resurgence, from when Fa’afili went over in the 12th minute, the game had never been in doubt, and the result was inevitable, but this hadn’t deterred the visiting supporters, who tried to keep a good atmosphere going in the West Stand.

With my train leaving just 10 minutes after the end of the game, I didn’t really hang around, leaving the ground sharpish and managing to get back to Bank Quay just in time to walk straight onto the train about 20 seconds before it left!

Overall I was glad that I’d come, the game had been quite good from a Warrington perspective, and the stadium was certainly one that deserved its accolades, looking superb on a bright, early-summers day.





Rear of the North Stand


The Main Reception


The Club Shop


The Brian Bevan Wall of Remembrance


The Brian Bevan Statue (Plaque Inset)


Rear of the East Stand


Rear of the South Stand


Rear of the West Stand


The West Stand


The North Stand


The East Stand


The South Stand


The South Stand


The East Stand


The North Stand



The Halliwell Jones Stadium Panoramic 1


The Halliwell Jones Stadium Panoramic 2







  

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