Can Oldham RLFC make Bower Fold a fortress this season?
Wednesday 22nd February 2017 @ 09:46 by Mark Phillip

OLDHAM Rugby League Club hope to make Bower Fold a fortress in this their second season at the home of Stalybridge Celtic.

Tameside sport-lovers now have professional rugby league on their doorstep, with well-known clubs like Hull KR, Bradford Bulls, Halifax, Rochdale Hornets, Featherstone Rovers, Batley Bulldogs and Swinton Lions all due at the Fold in forthcoming weeks.

The Kingstone Press Championship season — the sport’s second tier –runs from February to September so long after the football and rugby union seasons have finished, the Roughyeds (Oldham, that is) will be doing battle at the Mottram Road venue.

Last year, their first at Championship level, they won eight of their 14 home league games, but they expect to beat that this time, having spent substantially to bring in several new signings, including half-backs Scott Leatherbarrow and David Hewitt from London Broncos and Sheffield Eagles respectively.

Props Adam Neal and Ben Davies have added to the pack’s strength and mobility, while the return of Italy international full-back or wing Richard Lepori was a big hit with Roughyed diehards.

Coached by former Bradford Bulls star Scott Naylor, who’s in his fifth season at the club, Oldham began the new season with a convincing 26-10 win against Sheffield Eagles at Bower Fold.

They then produced two spirited and gutsy performances against highly-fancied Featherstone away and London Broncos at home, only to lose them both, 8-6 and 18-20.

“We got nothing, but deserved a lot more,” said Naylor. “I’ve got a squad of terrific lads and we’ll cause a few shocks this year if we can retain our current form.”

Naylor’s men go to Hull KR on Sunday — the toughest of tests in this division — and then return to Bower Fold on Sunday week, March 5, when they entertain Dewsbury Rams (3pm kick off).


By Roger Halstead