WITH the start of Oldham RL Club’s Championship campaign fast approaching, match-day staff and regular volunteers will be at Stalybridge FC tonight for a guided tour of Bower Fold and the stadium’s facilities.
Headed by club chairman Chris Hamilton, the Roughyeds’ game-day admin ‘team’ will familiarise themselves with the lay-out of the ground, especially in relation to turnstiles, transfer points and spectator areas.
The first game at Bower Fold, where Oldham are playing home games in 2016 because Whitebank doesn’t meet RFL standards, will see the visit of London Broncos on Sunday, February 7 (3pm).
“It will be a red-letter day in the history of Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd. The players hope to take the field to a massive reception after winning promotion last year,” said Hamilton.
“We expect our biggest crowd for ages. It will be a baptism of fire (Broncos are full-time professionals and tipped to do well) and we need to have all staff fully acquainted with the stadium and its facilities.”
Coach Scott Naylor, who gave Bower Fold the thumbs-up on a visit before Christmas, won’t be there tonight because he will be leading training for Sunday’s warm-up game at Barrow (3pm).
His pre-season schedules were thrown into disarray by the postponement of last weekend’s Law Cup game at Rochdale.
If the RFL approve, that game will now be played on Sunday, January 31, giving Roughyeds a tough run-in to Championship curtain-up with warm-up games at Barrow and at Rochdale before the big kick-off against Broncos.
Barrrow’s new signings for 2016 include Leigh Centurions duo Oliver Wilkes and Martin Aspinwall plus full-back Ryan Fieldhouse from Dewsbury Rams and BARLA international second-row man Danny Morrow from Walney.
Wilkes will captain his home-town club, which drew 10-10 with Workington Town at Craven Park on Sunday.
Oldham’s players had a successful pre-season promo in Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre on Saturday, signing autographs, meeting fans and displaying the two trophies they won last season.
Said Hamilton: “Mike Flanagan and his staff always make us welcome there and this time was no exception. It was good for the players to meet supporters and receive their best wishes ahead of the tough and extremely important season that lies ahead.”