Boults fastened for next year
Oldham RL Club kicked off Grand Final week in upbeat mood by tying long-serving prop Jason Boults into a new contract for the 2011 campaign.
The 27-year-old Yorkshireman will complete four seasons with Roughyeds in Sunday's Co-operative Championship One Grand Final showdown with York City Knights at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington.
And he didn't hesitate to make it five even though the club is still 80 minutes away from knowing which of the two Championship divisions it will be playing in next year.
"To know I'm secure at Oldham again next year is a big weight off my mind going into Sunday's final," said Boults, who has played in 103 cup and league games for Roughyeds since joining from Halifax for the start of the 2007 season.
"The club is moving in the right direction. No matter which way the final goes I will be delighted to stay with Oldham for another 12 months.
"It's a closely-knit club, the staff and the fans are great and it's a nice place to be. That counts for a lot. It must be awful to be at a club where you don't feel at home."
Boults, who lives in Halifax and works in Bradford as a fork-lift driver, has played in 25 of the Roughyeds' 27 games this year and has made 23 starts.
The first player to commit himself to the club for 2011, he boasts an impressive record of consistency for a prop, having made 25, 33 and 20 appearances respectively in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
He didn't play in Oldham's 2007 and 2008 finals, but he was in the starting line-up at the Halliwell Jones last year when Tony Benson's men were pipped 28-26 by Keighley Cougars.
"We've beaten York twice in the past six weeks," he added, "so both clubs know what to expect. We need to concentrate on playing our own game well and if we do that everything will take care of itself."
Watched by Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton and coach Benson, York qualified to play Oldham in the final by beating Blackpool Panthers 38-18 at the Huntington Stadium yesterday.
Chris Thorman, Alex Benson, Danny Ratcliffe (2), Lee Waterman and Dan Wilson scored the Knights' tries with Waterman kicking seven goals.
The crowd of 673 was little more than half of the 1,275 attendance for the Oldham v York qualifying semi-final at Whitebank seven days earlier.
Blackpool's defeat means that Oldham will be flying the flag for Lancashire as the only team from this side of the Pennines in the Championship and Championship One finals.
Roughyeds are trying to get more £20 main stand tickets, such has been the demand, but they still have available seats at £16 and £15 and standing tickets at £14.
The office in Lansdowne Road, Chadderton will be open this week from 9am Monday to Friday; to 7pm tonight (Mon) and Thursday; and to 5pm on Tuesday and Friday. It will NOT be open next Saturday.
Supporters coaches, leaving Whitebank at 1pm on Sunday, are filling up fast and fans intending to book need to do so as soon as possible.
The Whitebank clubhouse will open at 11am and fans can breakfast there on bacon sandwiches before giving the team a send-off at 12.30pm.
Fans, many of whom will be sporting the Roughyeds' specially-designed Grand Final T-shirts, are being urged to assemble at Whitebank from 11am to show their red-and-white solidarity for team and club.
The team will return after the game to Whitebank which will re-open at about 6.15pm as soon as staff get back from Warrington.