A COLLECTIVE sigh of relief swept through Bower Fold when Oldham RL Club beat Whitehaven 20-18 in a thriller to keep their place in the KP Championship and to send the Cumbrians down.
Club chairman Chris Hamilton said it was a “massive achievement” in regard to the future development of the club.
He added: “Coaches, players, staff, volunteers and fans have all played their part across a long season to ensure our survival in this division. The hard work has never stopped.
“I take no pleasure at all in seeing Whitehaven go down. They’re a good club with a lot of very good people there. Oldham has had a close affinity with them for a long time and that will continue.
“Regular fans know what a massive achievement it is. It ranks favourably with winning promotion, perhaps some people will view it as even bigger.
“For a variety of reasons we’ve been on a roller-coaster over the last few weeks, but we’ve achieved what we set out to achieve and we’ve done it with a game to spare.
“I want to publicly thank everyone who has joined us on the ride, fans for their loyal support, players, coaches and everyone behind the scenes.
“This club means a lot to a lot of people and it’s great to follow up our 2015 promotion by holding fast in the Championship.
“It also means we can press on with our squad building programme for 2017 knowing exactly where our immediate future lies.
“We’ve already announced a few signings. Watch this space for more.”
Full-back Scott Turner, who joined the club last month and has since re-signed for next year, won the man-of-the-match award with an outstanding display.
He later revealed that the team was given the hard word at half-time for straying from the game plan.
Said Turner: “It was a tough game, but our performance wasn’t perfect. We have a lot to work on for next season.
“We are all looking forward to it and aiming to finish higher up the table than this time.”
Oldham play their final game at Dewsbury Rams on Sunday (3pm).