Club History 2 of 2

2. More Recently

The Anvils were formed in 1997 after a conversation between former Orrell players Barry Fishwick and Colin Nicholson who were concerned at the lack of Rugby Union being played at Orrell in the professional era. Colin agreed to coach the side and with the help of John MacDermott John Yates and Bert Wilkinson, they set about recruiting players old and new, and even managed to talk some out of retirement. The first season was played in the name of one of Orrells most successful sides,the third team,and was made up mainly of young players with ex 1st teamers Dick Fisher Dave Cleary and Tony Pegg providing the experience. Expertly led by captain Mike Webb the team went from strength to strength winning 21 of 22 matches played that season,and thanks must be given to the then director of rugby Sammy Southern for his help in getting it up and running,he even turned out a couple of times when we had a prop shortage.

With fixtures becoming increasingly hard to get, it was decided to apply to the Rugby Football Union to enter the league system, this was initially turned down as they said you cannnot have two sides from the same club playing in the leagues. Not taking no as an answer, Bertie Wilkinson worked tirelessly till the RFU finally agreed to our plans,as long as we had our own constitution and a different name. So Orrell 3rd team became Orrell Anvils, also Berts idea, the anvil logo coming from Orrells history as a nail making village.

We believe we were the first club in England to do this. It created quite a stir and soon other clubs including Manchester, West Park (St.Helens), Sale and Wharfedale followed suite.

Season 1998/99 saw us in South Lancs and Cheshire Division 4, missing out on promotion by one point,after having two points deducted for fielding an unregistered player. Towards the end of this season Colin and his team were asked to take over Orrells second team,with Mike Webb and Tony Pegg taking over the running of the Anvils.

The following season with former first teamer's Jeff Huxley Steve Taberner and England winger Nigel Heslop strengthing the squad,our goal of promotion was achieved with two games remaining,winning every league game,and scoring over 500 points in the process. In the seasons up to the present time the captaincy has changed hands,first to Paul Stokes and then on to Andy Unsworth with Andy helping to coach the side with Steve Huxley,Rob Jones and Brenden O'Keefe all putting time and effort in under difficult circumstances. One more promotion was achieved in this period,despite not being allowed to play at Edge Hall Rd during the Dave Whelan years.

Various grounds have been used since then, Abraham Guest, Winstanley College and our current home John Rigby College

The start of season 2006/07 saw us in South Lancs and Cheshire Division 2, but because the professional side were struggling for players,five or six key players were re registered for Orrell RU, resulting in the Anvils being unable to fulfill their fixtures and withdrawing from the league. With the professional side struggling and facing another relegation battle,a group of former players including Tony Havlin, Colin Nicholson, Jimmy Williams, Dick Fisher Derek Ashcroft, John Yates,and Dave Hewlit with John Carleton as president, decided that in their view the professional model wasn't working,and the only way to keep a rugby union side in the Orrell area viable, that wasn't haemorrhaging money,was to revert back to being an amateur Club. After failing to convince the Orrell RU committee of the merits of this, they decided to try and breathe new life back into the Anvils, and they applied and were re-instated back into the South Lancs/Cheshire Division 2 for the 2007/08 season, with Colin Nicholson as coach.

The semi- professional side at Edge Hall Road ceased playing at the end of season 2006/2007.

Orrell Anvils finished 4th in the South Lancs/Cheshire Division 2 for the 2007/08 season.

Orrell were also ran several Junior sides in the 2007/08 season.

In the 2008/09 season Orrell Anvils finished 11th in the South
Lancs/Cheshire Division 2. In addition Ian Hollis organised a number of
Second team friendly games, the first one against Bowden away, thereby
demonstrating that they were enough player for Orrell to run 2 senior sides.
A second team was entered into the Miller Homes Division 5 North league for the 2009/10 season.

In addition Ian Hollis manages the Junior Colts under 17s side, who won
their leagues play off against Bowden.

In March 2009 the Orrell (2007) Rugby Football Club Limited became an
Industrial and Provident Society and a Community Amateur Sports Club.

At the beginning of the 2009/10 season Rob Jones, Steve Huxley and Andy
Unsworth agreed to take over the coaching duties. Orrell First finished 5th in the South Lancs/ Cheshire Division 2. A number of players who had made up the Junior Colts squad, decided before the start of the 2009/10, not to continue to play, with the result that the club was unable to run a senior colts team. However, those former junior players who wanted to continue to play joined the senior squad, and a number of these players helped the Second team to gain promotion in their first season as winners of the Millers Homes Division 5 North league as well as playing in the final of the Plate competition. The Second team was managed by Ian Hollis and coached by Rob Jones.

At the beginning of the 2009/10 season the Junior sides that had played in the 2008/9 season, decided due partly to the lack of a Club House and
adequate playing facilities at St. John Rigby College, to leave the Club.
However at the end of the 2009/10 season Keith Roberts began recruiting
players for an Orrell Minis and Juniors section with the aim to start
playing regular games in the 2010/11 season.

Bill Lyon agreed to take on the coaching duties for the 2010/11 season and the team was managed by Tony Pegg. The Second team was managed by Mark Radcliffe and again coached by Rob Jones.

Keith Roberts and Ashley Stuart obtained for the Club the RFU's Mini &
Juniors Seal of Approval and the Clubmark.

The 2010/11 season was a successful one for the Orrell Club with the First team becoming League Champions of the South Lancs/Cheshire Division 2 and gained promotion and the Second team becoming Champions of the University of Salford Division 4 league, thereby gaining promotion in 2 successive seasons.

The First Team started the 2011/12 season well, but were then plagued by
injuries. However, with the help of some new player and the return from
injuries of others Orrell, finished the season well and were 8th in their
first season in South Lancs/Cheshire 1.

The second Team were also affected by injuries, but they finished 5th in
their first season in the University of Salford Division 3 North.

Orrell started the season with enough players for a 3rd team, who were
entered in the University of Salford Division 5 North. Although they won
their first game convincingly, they were only able to play 3 more games,
before they had to withdraw from the league, due to lack of players, because of injuries, mainly to the senior sides.