The Roughyeds boys are back in town

Date published: 21 December 2021

The boys are back in town... and Oldham Rugby League Club's return from Bower Fold in Stalybridge to the Vestacare Stadium in Oldham next season will be hailed as a major boost for rugby league in the borough.

Roughyeds have confirmed that their home base in the 2022 Betfred League One season will be the Vestacare Stadium in Oldham's Limehurst Village where they clinched promotion to the Betfred Championship with a thrilling win against Newcastle Thunder in their last game of the 2019 League One campaign.

Because Vestacare didn't meet minimum standards for the Championship, Oldham had to find a new home and they played at Bower Fold in 2020 and 2021 before losing their place in the Championship.

Said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton: "We thank Stalybrige for the last two years. However, the disappointment of relegation was tempered by our return to Oldham.

"We appreciate it has taken a while for confirmation of our home venue but that was because the Vestacare Stadium is used extensively by several other teams, each of which has league commitments.

"Avro FC have been working hard behind the scenes so that we can play there, and that's all concluded now.

"Full details on season tickets etc will be announced shortly, but we can confirm now that we will be playing a friendly at the Vestacare on Saturday, January 22 (6pm kick-off) versus Wakefield Trinity."

Full details for that game and the following week-end's home Challenge Cup-tie against Lock Lane or Thatto Heath will be announced soon.

New coach Stu Littler said fans would most appreciate the fact that their Oldham team was back playing in its home town and the town it represents.

"We'll be playing for Oldham IN Oldham and we'll be trying to create a community atmosphere in which Oldham people can play a key part.

"We hope to attract them in numbers, including whole families who can enjoy themselves watching a team which, hopefully, will be playing good rugby too !

"It's a fast pitch which should suit the way we want to play.

"Pre and early-season games could be hit by bad weather, but the Vestacare pitch should reduce the risk of that.

"On top of that, we already know the pitch to a degree because we've trained on there and some of the lads have played on it, either for Oldham or for other clubs."

Charlie O'Brien, Avro FC's Head of Operations, described the announcement --- put out simultaneously by both clubs on their websites and social media channels -- as "fantastic news" for Avro, Oldham RLFC, the town and rugby supporters.

He added: "I come from a footballing background, but it is clearly visible to me that from a business, community and sporting aspect, Rugby League is very important to the town of Oldham.

"Chris and everyone else at Oldham RLFC seem ambitious to improve fan engagement, attract additional support and entice former supporters back to the club.

"This is truly great to see and to be a part of as they return to the Vestacare Stadium."

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