Blast from the Past: Rochdale’s Lancashire Cup run 1991/92

While the current Hornets side are fighting for Kingstone Press Championship One promotion with the likes of Oxford and Oldham, not too long ago the club was rubbing shoulders with the giants of the game.

The most memorable example of this is now 21 years ago when Rochdale, who were in the top division in the country at the time, made it to the final of the Lancashire Cup against St Helens.

At half-time the unfancied Hornets even led the Saints, who were coached by Mike McClennan and also reached the Premiership Final that year, but they could not hold on in the second-half.

The final score was 24-12 and it proved to the rugby league public that the Rochdale side of that era belonged at the top level.

Matt Calland, the future England international, was in the Hornets side that year and he remembers their Lancashire Cup exploits well.

He said, “One of the most memorable games of my career was beating Salford in the quarter-final of the Lancashire Cup in 1991-92.

“It was a night match and they where in the division above but we we had some great players at the time, Mike Kuiti, Darren Abram, Bob Marsden and Martin Hall to name a few.

“I remember we scored straight from the kick off after an Abram try, Steve Gartland scoring under the posts, it was brilliant.

“It was a great era for the club with us getting to the final. We ended up narrowly losing against Saints but it was a game we could have won and we showed we could compete with the big boys.”

Calland is now back at the club in a coaching role and he says Rochdale will always be important to him.

“Hornets were the first club to sign me as an amatuer and I will always be grateful to them for giving me a chance. That’s why I am back there now, trying to get them back on track.”


To win tickets to Rochdale’s next Kingstone Press Championship One match, against Hemel on Sunday 7th July, click here.

Kingstone Press Cider has teamed up with LoveRugbyLeague to celebrate all things great about the rugby league Championships. For the rest of the season, ‘Championing the Championships’ campaign will put a weekly spotlight on each Championship and Championship 1 club to focus on their most memorable moments, look back at the clubs heroes and reward the loyal fans. Read more.

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