RIP Arthur Tomlinson

Date published: Saturday, July 28, 2012

The former Oldham Rugby League Club’s rugged forward Arthur Tomlinson died on the 24th of July whilst in hospital in Auckland, New Zealand.

Born in Manchester in 1926 but brought up in Warrington, he was, until recently, still a keen sportsman who took an interest in both rugby & cricket.

Aged 23, following four ‘A’ team trial matches he signed for Oldham from Warrington amateur side Bewsey Imps in December 1947 for the sum of £75. He added ‘steel’ to the the Oldham first team pack appearing on 176 occasions scoring twelve tries before he retired in 1957. He then emigrated to New Zealand where, missing the game, he was granted clearance to play.

He signed for the NZ rugby league club Ponsonby and whilst there played in the first New Zealand Grand Final when Ponsonby beat Otahuhu 16-7 to win the Fox Memorial Trophy in 1958. The Ponsonby team was captained by Kiwi international Bill Sorenson and included fellow international players Jack Fagan, Rex Percy, Len Erikson, Joe Ratima and Keith Bell.

Joe Warham the former Oldham three-quarter and more recently Leeds official said of his former playing colleague “So sorry to learn of Arthur’s passing. We were fellow Warringtonians and were good pals apart from rugby. I recall his serving in Burma with the Chindits when I was in the Navy. He was a true gentleman”.

Barbara Roblin also of her uncle “He led a very full and interesting life and was proud to wear the retro 1957 Championship jersey sent over by the Rugby Oldham Trust. I don’t think he wore any other shirt!”