OLDHAM Roughyeds have today announced that they will be playing their homes games in 2016 at Stalybridge Celtic’s Bower Fold ground, subject to RFL approval.
The news comes as a welcome boost ahead of their Championship campaign after their current home of Whitebank was deemed unsuitable for the division.
After six failed attempts to gain promotion they finally broke their run of grand final defeats with a 31-20 victory over Keighley Cougars, to complete an impressive double of Grand Final winners and League 1 Champions.
Oldham owner Chris Hamilton is delighted to finally have an agreement in place and stressed how important it is to the development of the club.
“We’ve strived for so long to gain promotion and one thing we didn’t want to do was be in a position not to go up to the division above,” he commented.
“It’s taken longer than anybody would have liked be we are there now and moving forward.”
The Roughyeds hosted Super League club St Helens at Bower Fold in 2002 with over 4,000 fans in attendance, with Hamiltion impressed by the facilities they will have at their disposal.
“They are really good, we’ve played there before and they have actually improved since we were there last time, so our facilities will be better than probably half of the clubs in that division.”
It is a disappointment to be playing outside of the town though, but it is something they have experienced before when playing from Sedgley Park between 2009 and 2010.
However, with SportsDirect.com Park, home of Oldham Athletic FC, becoming unavailable the club were left with no other option.
“We’d be lying if we said we wanted to play out of town,” he continued. “We’ve done it before and it has its pros and cons.
“We know what to expect and we know logistically what difficulties it brings.
“We did want to stay in Oldham but the only option available to us there was the SportDirect.com Park and that wasn’t available, so that was the end of that.”
Now that their worries over a home for the upcoming season seem to be over, the club’s owner is now looking forward to starting life as a Championship club.
“The lads and the coaches have been training hard for the last month.
“I’ve been carrying the weight of this on my shoulders to get this organised, but we are now looking forward to the challenges of being in the Championship.”
By: Sean Hayes