Boundary Park's Easter weekend treat for all Oldham football and rugby league fanatics

Reporter: Roger Halstead
Date published: 13 March 2024

Boundary Park will rock to the tune of thousands of Oldham sports fans over the Easter weekend, there to watch local sporting action on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and finally Easter Sunday.

The new £1m super pitch will be asked to cope with a soccer match and THREE rugby league games over the 72-hour, three-day sporting bonanza, which will give us three rugby league derby games, two of them featuring Oldham teams against teams from neighbouring Rochdale.

It all starts, however, on Good Friday with a visit to Oldham's iconic stadium by AFC Fylde, based just outside Kirkham on the Wesham side of that little market town midway between Deepdale to the east and Bloomfield Road to the west - citadels of soccer that hold no fears for Fylde even though this little Vanarama National League side competes for its fans with clubs that once housed footballing legends like Tom Finney and Stanley Matthews.

You’ve only to take the lovely little walk past Ribby Hall holiday centre from Kirkham to Wrea Green, once voted the prettiest village in Lancashire with its trademark pub, church and village green, complete with cricket square and duck pond, to see the famous Blackpool Tower in the distance and to realise how close you are to the Fylde coast.

Latics are still gunning for a play-off berth while the men from Fylde are holding their own in the ‘National’, all the signs pointing to a competitive 90 minutes of live sporting action in Oldham's fine little stadium, situated as it is close to the North-West motorway system, with plenty of parking and, in the Joe Royle stand, some terrific up-to-the minute facilities - qualities that can all-too-easily be taken for granted until you don’t have them.

Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday are then rugby league days at BP.

Since it was revealed last month that the Standard Cup Final would be at Boundary Park on Saturday, March 30 and that the Johnny Blair Memorial match would feature the under-11 teams of the competing Standard Cup finalists, there have been changes of kick-off times and even a change to one of the under-11s sides.

The curtain-raiser starts at 11am on Saturday, March 30 and will feature the under-11s of Waterhead Warriors and Higginshaw - the first of the three rugby league derbies over Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday and an all-Oldham affair.

The Standard Cup Final, the blue riband event of the Oldham Amateur League, kicks off at 12.30pm on the same Saturday, March 30, featuring the pride of Oldham, Waterhead, against the pride of Rochdale, mighty Mayfield of the National Conference premier division.

Mind you, Waterhead are no mugs.

They are only one division behind Mayfield in the NCL; they have one or two players who have been in Super League; they are well coached by Jon Perks and former Oldham star Keith Brennan; arguably their most experienced campaigner is play-anywhere Gareth Owen, once of Salford, Oldham and Sheffield; they won the National Cup only last year; they qualified for this Standard Cup Final with an easy semi-final win against Saddleworth Rangers, watched by one of their old boys, famous Sky Sports TV pundit Barrie McDermott; and they claim to have the best-looking media man in League land in Geoff Owen, club cameraman and Gareth’s dad!

Ticket details are as follows:

General admission (adults £5, concessions [under-18s. Over-65s] £3

Broadway Suite Hospitality (pie and peas) £20 per person

Executive Box (pie and peas) Box of ten £250; box of 12 £300

Turnstiles will be open ahead of the under-11s final with a specific opening time to be confirmed The fans’ bar, known as Station Zebra, will be open.

That brings us to Easter Sunday, March 31, the start of British summer time.

It coincides with the Roughyeds’ first home league game against closest derby rivals, Rochdale Hornets, who are tough nuts to crack anytime, let alone when several members of their squad were Oldham players last year.

The Betfred League One season starts for Oldham this Sunday (March 17) up at Workington, never an easy place to visit and especially difficult when you have injuries and they have your nemesis in their ranks.

Jarrod Sammut, a mercurial Aussie half-back, has a history of defeating Oldham almost single-handedly.

If Oldham can keep this 37-year-old quiet they will be half-way there, but they know they will have to play a whole lot better than they did when beaten at Swinton and York in separate cup competitions recently.

The Roughyeds have a blank on March 24 and then it’s all systems go for Boundary Park and the Rochdale derby in their first home league game on March 31.

What a Boundary Park weekend it promises to be over Easter!

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