AS Oldham Rugby prepare for one of their biggest crowds of the season when Bradford Bulls come to Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm), chairman Chris Hamilton has spoken of the quality entertainment on offer generally in the Kingstone Press Championship.
Only league leaders Hull KR are unbeaten after seven rounds and the next three teams in the division, Toulouse Olympique, Featherstone Rovers and London Broncos, have each been beaten twice.
Though losing heavily at Hull KR, like Bradford and Sheffield, and most recently at Batley Bulldogs, Roughyeds held high-flying Featherstone and London Broncos to two points and drew at Rochdale in three cracking games.
The home win against Sheffield and the heart-breaking 20-18 defeat by Broncos provided Bower Fold fans with rugby that was rich in passion, honest endeavour and no small amount of skill.
Said Chris: “The quality on offer in the Championship is good — it’s a top competition. A lot of people will say it’s the most competitive division of the three, and that’s about right.
“It’s clubs have an ageing fan base, in the main. We try to connect with younger people, but we suffer from a lack of exposure.
“I wouldn’t mind £1 for every young person we see in Oldham wearing Super League shirts.
“Greater exposure for the Championship would make a massive difference. When we are not on TV it’s very hard to get a message across to people other than our regular supporters.”
More than 23,000 watched the live streamed version of the cup-tie against Haydock on the BBC website, but the attendance at Bower Fold was 743.
Hull KR, with 5,500 season ticket holders and Bradford Bulls are the best supported teams in the division, Bulls fans having stuck with their club despite its numerous financial crises in recent years, culminating in its starting off this season on minus-12 points for going into administration.
More than 4,100 watched them beat Dewsbury Rams 56-18 at the Provident Stadium last Sunday and they expect to bring a big following to Bower Fold, hoping to witness their fifth win in their last six outings.