Newly-promoted Oldham Roughyeds are to play their home games in 2016 at Stalybridge Celtic’s Bowers Fold.
Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton has announced the news following weeks of hard work to find a temporary home after their promotion to the Kingston Press Championship for next season.
Their ground for 2015, the Whitebank Stadium in Limeside, did not meet the RFL’s minimum requirements for rugby league’s second tier, and therefore have had to move to the 5,200 capacity stadium to comply with these standards.
Roughyeds chairman Hamilton has already expressed his happiness at the move to Bowers Field and has praised the help given from Stalybridge Celtic in their efforts to accomodate his club.
“We are delighted and relieved to have secured a home venue for next year,” he said.
“Since we clinched promotion, we’ve been under a lot of pressure to sort this out and not a day has gone by when it hasn’t been at the forefront of everything I’ve been doing. It’s been a tough period but, subject to RFL approval, we can now look forward to life in the Championship.”
Although the move to Bowers Field is out of the town of Oldham, Hamilton added that the only ground that met the requirments in the town was Oldham Athletic’s Boundary Park. However, the Roughyed’s chairman admitted to there being too many potential problems to make it a viable option.
“We tried really hard to reach an agreement to play there,” he said.
“But when it came down to the nitty-gritty, there were concerns about the pitch’s ability to sutain both football and rugby league, especially in the winter months, and these concerns couldn’t be overcome.”
Oldham managed to claim both trophies on offer to them in 2015, and Celtic’s chairman Rob Gorski has spoke of his excitement at the new partnership they have made with the club, and can see it as a positive solution for both sides.
“We are helping out a neighbour, but it’s a classic win-win situation,” he said.
“Having won promotion after six Grand Final defeats, it would have been truly tragic had they been unable to pursue that prize. We are delighted to become partners with Oldham in this new venture.”