In Memoriam: Phil Eastham

Wigan Warriors are saddened to learn of the passing of former player, Phil Eastham.

Phil was born in Wigan on the 8th October 1949 and attended All Saint’s Secondary Modern School.

As a schoolboy, Phil was part of the All Saints team in 1964-65 that won the Manchester Evening News Shield, The Salter Shield, The Wood Cup, The Sealing Cup, The Blan Cup, and the Wigan RU Club Sevens Shield, prompting Wigan to sign Phil for their Colts set up shortly after leaving school.

Phil was also a talented footballer and was a member of the Wigan and Districts school team that reached the Lancashire FA Cup Final in 1965 but it was his talent at rugby that proved to be his sporting choice.

Having signed for the Wigan Colt’s Eastham was part of the Continuation Cup winning team in 1965-66 after defeating Widnes at Naughton Park by 5-3 along with three other Colt’s players that went on to play for Wigan’s first team Denis Boyd, Alan Farrington and Jackie Melling.

Eastham progressed through the Wigan Colts system and made his first debut on 19th April 1969 vs. Whitehaven at Central Park earning him the unique Heritage Number 668. Wigan beat Whitehaven on the day by 37-5 as Eastham came off the substitute’s bench to score a try on debut.

Further into his debut season on 27 September 1969 against Batley at Central Park Phil scored his one and only Hat Trick for the club as Wigan cruised to a 47-10 victory.

Phil Eastham went on to play 30 games for Wigan scoring 17 tries for a career point’s total of 51.

Having won a Lancashire League championship medal in 1969-70, Eastham would go on to win the Lancashire Cup with Wigan on 28th August 1971 at Knowsley Road St Helens, against a strong Widnes team.

Wigan lifted the Lancashire Cup following a narrow win by 15-8 with Eastham scoring Wigan’s third and final try to clinch the trophy.

Phil Eastham’s final game for Wigan was on the 27th November 1971 vs. Hull KR at Craven Park in a second-round John Player Trophy game which Wigan won by 18-11.

On leaving Wigan Phil signed for Salford (Heritage Number 696) and made his debut for them ironically against Wigan on the 6 October 1972 at Central Park in the Lancashire Cup semi-final a game Salford won by 14-2 to see them reach the final at Wilderspool, Warrington.

Salford would go on to beat local rivals Swinton in the Final 25-11, once again Phil appearing on the score sheet to record a second successive Lancashire Cup winner’s medal.

On retiring from the game Phil continued to work locally as a joiner within the construction industry, and continued to watch Wigan as well as being an active member and supporter of the Wigan Past Players Association where he will be sadly missed. Phil held Wigan Warriors heritage number 668.

Wigan Warriors send their condolences to Susan, Phil’s wife, along with his family and friends.

Wednesday 20 September 2023