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Oldham prepare for biggest crowd of the season as Bulls visit Bower Fold
Thursday 30th March 2017 @ 10:01 by Mark Phillip

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 Hamilton said: “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.

It will be the RFL’s focus game this week for promoting Summer Bash.

Fans can be photographed against a giant RFL promo board and leaflets will be distributed, promoting Summer Bash and, in particular, the Oldham-Rochdale derby at Bloomfield Road on Saturday, May 27 (2.30).

Roughyeds don’t have big numbers of tickets left and the RFL expect South Stand on the Saturday to be a sell-out.

Oldham’s season-ticket holders have until April 28 to claim their free tickets, but they are urged to do so asap, ideally before the game at Bower Fold on Sunday, either at the main reception (seat holders) or at the shop inside the ground (standing members).

Day and weekend tickets will also be available to buy (cash or cheque) as follows: West Stand, reserved seats £30 (day), £50 (weekend), concessions £15 and £25; South Stand, unreserved seats £20 (day), £30 (weekend), concessions £10 and £15.

Replica kit and merchandise will also be on sale on Sunday as well as discounted early-bird tickets for the fifth round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie at Featherstone on Sunday, April 23 (3pm).

Up to April 19 these are priced (sit or stand) at £12 adults, £8 concessions, £5 juniors. After April 19 they go to £18 adults, £12 concessions, £5 juniors.

By Roger Halstead