Roughyeds open doors
Oldham Rugby League Club has opened its doors to town-team juniors in a bid to further strengthen partnerships with the local Service Area organisation.
The town's under-13s, 14s, 15s and 16s talent squads will train at Whitebank for the first time on Saturday (10.30am to 12.30pm) to forge new links with the local professional club.
A fortnight later, the 13s and 14s will play modified nine-a-side games against Rochdale boys in curtain-raisers to the Law Cup clash of Oldham and Hornets at Whitebank on Sunday, January 2 (kick-off 3pm).
"We are working closely with the Service Area and hoping more initiatives like this will be hosted at Whitebank," said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton.
Club coach Tony Benson. brought up in New Zealand where regional rugby rivalry is intense, believes the sport in Oldham at all levels will benefit if the town presents a united front.
Like his Hornets counterpart John Stankevitch, who is striving to develop a pro-am rugby league community in Rochdale, Benson is keen to see all clubs in Oldham advancing side by side. "We should be standing together as a town," he said. "We are Oldham -- and proud of it."
The club's deepening association with the Service Area and with its top man Chris Chamberlain, a 30-year-old rugby league development officer from Wigan, will be key.
Chamberlain heads a Service Area managerial team which comprises newly-appointed Steven Nield (community coach), former Great Britain international and ex-Roughyeds coach Steve Molloy (talent coach), Claire Robinson (volunteer co-ordinator) and Peter Brooke (match officials development officer).
Said Chamberlain: "We've been training at Manor Park, home of Oldham RU Club, but for obvious reasons we wanted to train at a rugby league club.
"I'm in regular dialogue with Chris Hamilton -- and Roughyeds have been brilliant in accommodating us and working with us."