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DCBL Stadium
Stobart Stadium.jpg
Full nameDCBL Stadium
Former namesHalton Stadium (2017-2019)
Select Security Stadium (2014-2017)
Stobart Stadium (2008–2013)
Halton Stadium (2001–2007)
Autoquest Stadium (1999–2001)
Naughton Park (1932–1999)
Lowerhouse Lane (1895–1932)
LocationLowerhouse Lane
Widnes
Cheshire
WA8 7DZ
Coordinates53°21′57″N 2°44′18″W / 53.36583°N 2.73833°W / 53.36583; -2.73833Coordinates: 53°21′57″N 2°44′18″W / 53.36583°N 2.73833°W / 53.36583; -2.73833
OwnerHalton Borough Council
Capacity13,350
SurfaceArtificial turf
ScoreboardYes (Electronic LED Display)
Construction
BuiltRe-opened 1997
Opened12 October 1895
Renovated2 November 1997
Expanded11 September 2005
Tenants
Widnes Vikings
Widnes Football Club
Halton Spartans

The DCBL Stadium (historically known as Lowerhouse Lane and Naughton Park) is a rugby league stadium in Widnes, Cheshire, England. It is the home of Rugby League side Widnes Vikings of the Betfred Championship, and American football side Halton Spartans of the BAFA National Leagues. The stadium is all seater and has a total capacity of 13,350.

During the 2011 Super League Season, St. Helens played their home games at the stadium. From 2013 to 2018 the Stadium was home to Everton Ladies and Liverpool Ladies . Local club Widnes Football Club of the Northern Premier League also play their home games at the stadium. The Halton Spartans American football team have used the stadium to host their home matches, whilst competing in the BAFANL since 2015. Since 2013 the stadium has also been used as the venue for the Drum Corps United Kingdom "British Drum Corps Championships".

History

Widnes Football Club had a number of grounds before settling at Lowerhouse Lane in 1884/85 on a site a few hundred yards north of the current location. That land was leased on behalf of the rugby organisation by Widnes Cricket Club but, to coincide with the breakaway from the Rugby Football Union in 1895, Widnes F.C. obtained a lease for land on which they laid out a new ground (the Naughton Park/Halton Stadium site). The first game on the new field was against Liversedge on 12 October 1895.

In the late 1920s it was proposed that the land would be compulsorily purchased to make way for a new council housing scheme. After much lobbying the club were finally given an option to purchase the site for the not inconsiderable sum of £3,250.

Club secretary Tom Naughton was instrumental in raising the necessary funds but before the formal completion of the purchase in 1932 he died in a car crash, leading to the ground being renamed in his honour.

During the 1978 Kangaroo tour Widnes defeated Australia at Naughton Park before a crowd of 12,202.

Naughton Park stadium was owned by Widnes F.C. (later Widnes RLFC Ltd) but when financial difficulties set in they sold the ground to Halton Borough Council in 1995.

Halton Borough Council in partnership with Widnes Vikings agreed to build a new stadium on the site of Naughton Park. This stadium would provide a multi-purpose complex including a social club, conference facilities, recreational facilities and catering/function facilities.

The stadium was officially reopened on 2 November 1997 and consisted of South Stand with 3,400 capacity two function suites, social club and 30 executive boxes overlooking the pitch and the North Stand which had capacity for 4,400 fans.

On 11 November 1997 Everton Reserves played their first match in their new home as more than 5,000 fans attended leading to the kick-off being delayed by half an hour to allow the large crowd in. Although they were not treated to the best of games Leeds eventually found the breakthrough with 10 minutes to go when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink cut inside two defenders and curled his right foot shot past the dive of John O'Toole.[1]

On 29 January 1999 the Widnes RLFC's remaining 40% share in the ground was sold to the council when they ran into financial difficulties.

In 1999 the Halton Stadium became The AutoQuest Stadium when the local car dealership signed sponsorship naming rights.

On 8 October 1999 the new West stand was officially opened by Tessa Sanderson CBE with the benefit of a Sport England Lottery grant the facilities included gym, crèche, café and a national table tennis Centre of excellence along with an extra 3,200 spectator seating.

In 2000, Runcorn F.C. sold their Canal Street ground and moved to the Halton Stadium. The club renamed itself Runcorn F.C. Halton to reflect its new location.

AutoQuest's sponsorship ended in 2001 and the stadium became known as the Halton Stadium.

On 27 November 2002 Runcorn hosted 3rd division Bristol Rovers in an FA Cup 1st round replay in front of 2,444 fans despite taking their league opponents to extra time they were knocked out 3–1.[2]

The 2002/03 season was to be Everton Reserves final season at the Halton Stadium as they moved to Haig Avenue in Southport.[3]

In 2004 the Stadium was selected to host a Challenge cup semi final as 11,175 fans watched as Wigan Warriors were victorious 30–18 against the Warrington Wolves.

In 2005 the East Stand was completed making the Halton Stadium a complete four-stand all seater stadium. Runcorn F.C.'s precarious financial state caused them to move out of the Halton Stadium and into Valerie Park.

In December 2007 a sponsorship agreement was made with Stobart Group Limited and the stadium was renamed Stobart Stadium Halton.[4] In February 2008 the North stand seats were changed to spell out Vikings, West stand seats are sponsored by Stobart and East stand seats are sponsored by Halton Borough Council as part of the stadium sponsorship deal.

The Widnes Rugby League Museum was opened in 2007.

In 2008 the Stadium hosted Wigan Warriors home playoff fixture verses Bradford Bulls after they were refused usage of their home ground by the stadiums owner Dave Whelan [5]

In 2009 the Stadium hosted a rematch of the 2004 Challenge Cup Semi final and this time 12,975 fans watched as Warrington Wolves secured revenge in a 39–26 victory over Wigan Warriors.

In 2010 12,265 fans attended the Challenge Cup Semi final as Warrington Wolves cruised to victory 54-12 verses Catalans Dragons.

The stadium was a temporary home to St. Helens during the 2011 season, as Langtree Park only opened for use in time for the 2012 season.[6]

At the end of the 2011 season the stadium became the first in England to install a fully artificial 3g pitch [7]

In 2013 The Stadium failed to be selected as a Rugby League World Cup venue due to the 3g pitch not being sanctioned for international competition. The USA team based themselves at the Stadium during their run to the quarter finals in the competition.[8]

In 2013 local businessman Peter Littler signed a naming rights sponsorship deal as the Stadium became the Select Security Stadium [9]

Since 2013 the Stadium has been the host venue for the British Drum Corps Championships which are held each September. The Championships feature the top UK Marching Bands and is organised by Drum Corps United Kingdom - www.dcuk.org.uk

On Sunday 18 June 2017 a sellout 14,000 crowd were entertained by rock and roll superstar Elton John at the Stadium with his "Wonderful crazy night tour".[10]

In October 2018 the 3g pitch was relayed after seven years of matches, community use and events. The new 3g pitch was installed with green rubber crumb and the perimeter touchlines permanently incorporated into the surface to improve the appearance of the pitch for spectators and the TV audience.

In November 2019 DCBL secured the naming rights to the DCBL Stadium Halton.[11]

Facilities

The stadium is segmented into four stands, each with different seating capacities and amenities:

Rugby League Club Matches

The Halton Stadium has played host to various high-profile club matches.

Game Date Result Attendance Notes
1 12 October 2002
Giantscolours.svg
Huddersfield Giants def.
Leigh colours.svg
Leigh Centurions 38–16
9,051 Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final
2 5 October 2003
Redscolours.svg
Salford City Reds def.
Leigh colours.svg
Leigh Centurions 31–14
9,186 2003 Rugby League National Leagues Grand Final
3 25 April 2004
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors def.
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves 30–18
11,175 Challenge Cup Semi-Final
4 10 October 2004
Leigh colours.svg
Leigh Centurions def.
Haven colours.svg
Whitehaven RLFC 32–16
11,005 2004 Rugby League National Leagues Grand Final
5 9 October 2005
Castleford colours.svg
Castleford Tigers def.
Haven colours.svg
Whitehaven RLFC 36–8
13,300 2005 Rugby League National Leagues Grand Final
6 12 September 2008
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors def.
Bullscolours.svg
Bradford Bulls 30–14
6,806 Super League Super League XIII Playoff
7 8 August 2009
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves def.
Wigancolours.svg
Wigan Warriors 39–26
12,975 Challenge Cup Semi-Final
8 8 August 2010
Wolvescolours.svg
Warrington Wolves def.
Catalanscolours.svg
Catalans Dragons 54–12
12,265 Challenge Cup Semi-Final

Rugby League Test Matches

List of rugby league test matches played at the Halton Stadium.[12]

Test# Date Result Attendance Notes
1 15 January 1978  Wales def.  France 29–7 9,502 1978 European Rugby League Championship
2 16 March 1979  England def.  Wales 15–7 5,099 1979 European Rugby League Championship
3 26 January 1980  France def.  Wales 21–7 2,804 1980 European Rugby League Championship
4 19 June 1998  England def.  Wales 15–12 5,154 International Friendly
1 12 November 2000  Wales def.  Papua New Guinea 13–12 5,211 2000 Rugby League World Cup Quarter-final 3
5 12 November 2006  England def.  Tonga 32–14 3,000 2006 Federation Shield Final
6 9 November 2007  Samoa def.  United States 42–10 753 2008 Rugby League World Cup qualifying
7  Lebanon def.  Wales 50–26

Rugby League Tour Matches

Other than Widnes club games, the stadium also saw Widnes play host to various international touring teams from 1907 to 1990. Widnes' 11–10 win over Australia in 1978 was their only win over the touring Kangaroos. It also remains (as of 2017) the last time a British club or county side has defeated Australia in any match.

Game Date Result Attendance Notes
1 17 October 1907
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg
New Zealand def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 26–11
8,000 1907–08 All Golds tour
2 6 January 1909
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 13–2
1,000 1908–09 Kangaroo Tour
3 11 October 1911
Australian colours.svg
Australasia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 23–0
5,000 1911–12 Kangaroo Tour
4 6 October 1921
Australian colours.svg
Australasia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 28–4
11,000 1921–22 Kangaroo Tour
5 27 December 1921
Australian colours.svg
Australasia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 17–8
12,000
6 28 September 1926
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg
New Zealand def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 15–5
6,000 1926–27 New Zealand Kiwis tour
7 19 September 1929
Australian colours.svg
Australasia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 37–13
6,400 1929–30 Kangaroo Tour
8 26 October 1933
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 31–0
6,691 1933–34 Kangaroo Tour
9 21 October 1937
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes drew with
Australian colours.svg
Australia 13–13
4,201 1937–38 Kangaroo Tour
10 11 December 1948
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 18–8
10,761 1948–49 Kangaroo Tour
11 6 December 1952
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 18–7
7,411 1952–53 Kangaroo Tour
12 1 October 1959
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 45–15
9,381 1959–60 Kangaroo Tour
13 21 November 1963
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 20–9
6,509 1963–64 Kangaroo Tour
14 11 November 1967
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 13–11
9,828 1967–68 Kangaroo Tour
15 14 October 1973
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 25–10
5,185 1973 Kangaroo Tour
16 25 October 1978
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes def.
Australian colours.svg
Australia 11–10
12,202 1978 Kangaroo Tour
17 9 November 1980
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes def.
New Zealand Kiwis colours.svg
New Zealand 14–7
6,416 1980 New Zealand Kiwis tour
18 23 November 1982
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 19–6
9,790 1982 Kangaroo Tour
19 12 November 1986
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 24–4
10,268 1986 Kangaroo Tour
20 18 November 1990
Australian colours.svg
Australia def.
Widnes colours.svg
Widnes 15–8
14,666 1990 Kangaroo Tour

Notes

  1. ^ "ToffeeWeb - Everton Reserves, 1997-98".
  2. ^ Ogden, Mark (27 November 2002). "Runcorn produce extra effort". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 December 2020.>
  3. ^ "ToffeeWeb - Everton Reserves/U-21s, 2003-04".
  4. ^ "Stobart Group maps out road to success for Vikings". Halton Borough Council. Retrieved 7 December 2007.[dead link]
  5. ^ > The Daily Telegraph[dead link]
  6. ^ "Saints shifting to Widnes". skysports.com. 18 July 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
  7. ^ "Widnes Vikings answer questions on new artificial pitch". 10 August 2011.
  8. ^ "2013 Rugby League World Cup plans announced". 28 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Vikings' stadium naming rights sold - SportsPro Media".
  10. ^ "Review: Elton John at Widnes - still standing and stronger than ever". 18 June 2017.
  11. ^ "DCBL Provides Stadium Sponsorship to Home of Widnes Vikings | DCBL".
  12. ^ Halton Stadium @ Rugby League Project