Bower Fold hosts Championship Rugby League

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Oldham Roughyeds will play their home games next season at Stalybridge Celtic’s Bower Fold ground, Chairman Chris Hamilton is excited by the move to the 5,200-capacity Bower Fold.
Their Whitebank Stadium, where the club have been based in recent years, doesn’t meet the required standard to stage stage Kingston Press Championship matches.They tried to broker a deal to play at Oldham Athletic’s SportsDirect.Park, but the football club had concerns about how the pitch would hold up, as did FC United when they were approached.
 
Oldham Chairman sais:
 
“We are delighted and relieved to have finally secured a home venue for next year,” he said.
 
“Since we clinched promotion, we’ve been under a lot of pressure to sort this out and not a day has gone by when it hasn’t been at the forefront of everything I’ve been doing.
 
“It’s been a tough period but, subject to RFL approval, we can now look forward to life in the Championship.
 
“Rob Gorski, the Stalybridge chairman, has been a breath of fresh air in his willingness to help and facilitate us. We have found ourselves a willing and supportive partner.
 
 
 
We are delighted and relieved to have finally secured a home venue for next year,” he said.
 
“Since we clinched promotion, we’ve been under a lot of pressure to sort this out and not a day has gone by when it hasn’t been at the forefront of everything I’ve been doing.
 
“It’s been a tough period but, subject to RFL approval, we can now look forward to life in the Championship.
 
“Rob Gorski, the Stalybridge chairman, has been a breath of fresh air in his willingness to help and facilitate us. We have found ourselves a willing and supportive partner.
 
 
“We are looking forward to working with Celtic as we bid to consolidate our place in the higher division.”
 
Roughyeds won both trophies that were up for grabs in League One rugby last season and had to find a new home because their Whitebank Stadium base in Limeside doesn’t meet RFL minimum standards for the sport’s second tier.
 
Describing Celtic’s new partnership with Oldham as ‘exciting’, Gorski said: “We are helping out a neighbour, but it’s a classic win-win situation.
 
“Roughyeds played St Helens in a cup-tie at Bower Fold in 2002 and we were happy to look at accommodating them on a more permanent basis.
 
“Having won promotion after six Grand Final defeats it would have been truly tragic had they been unable to pursue that prize.
 
“We hope Oldham fans will enjoy our facility at Bower Fold. Hopefully, we will also attract new fans from Stalybridge and other parts of Tameside.
 
 
 
 
“To have Championship rugby on their doorstep and to be able to see Oldham playing Bradford, Halifax, Leigh etc will be a big attraction.
 
“We’ve no issue with the state of the pitch. There are no sliding tackles in rugby league and no contested scrums so we don’t see wear and tear as a problem.
 
“We are delighted to become partners with Oldham in this new venture.”
 
Fans will be disappointed that Roughyeds have had to move out of Oldham, but Hamilton says there were no other options.
 
Added Hamilton: “We tried really hard to reach an agreement to play at SportsDirect.com Park, but when it came down to the nitty-gritty there were concerns about the pitch’s ability to sustain both football and rugby league, especially in the winter months, and these concerns couldn’t be overcome.
 
“It was disappointing, but it wasn’t something we could not control so we had to make alternative arrangements while wishing the football club well as they pass through a difficult period.
 
 
“There were no other suitable grounds in the borough, so we had to look a little further afield at the likes of FC United, who also had pitch problems, and also at Curzon Ashton and Ashton United, neither of whom could accommodate us.
 
“Geoff Roberts at Sedgley Park was, as always, keen to help as was John Roddy, chairman of Swinton, who also play there. But there were a number of clashes and we would have had to move five fixtures at least.
 
“The RFL were also concerned about two clubs sharing a facility in the height of winter.
 
“Harry Hulmes, the Mossley chairman, was also happy to help, but the ground did not meet minimum standards and time constraints were against us.
 
“Notwithstanding all that, Bower Fold is the best facility of the lot and we hope our fans will share in the relief of everyone at the club that the situation is finally resolved.
 
“Had we been unable to acquire a suitable ground there was a possibility that we would have been denied promotion. That would have been unthinkable.
 
“The irony is that at Bower Fold we will enjoy facilities that will be the envy of many clubs in the Championship.”
 
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