Grassroots rugby at Whitebank

Date published: Wednesday, July 7, 2010

ROUGHYEDS are starting to reap the benefits of their work to develop closer links with the game at grassroots level.

The junior sections of several local amateur clubs have played curtain-raisers at Whitebank since the club moved into the Limeside venue in May — and by the end of the season every junior section in town will have had at least one age group represented.

When Roughyeds take on derby rivals Swinton Lions at Whitebank on Sunday in their first home game since June 13 it will be the turn of the under-10s from the St Anne’s and Fitton Hill clubs.

Five children from St Michael’s Primary School in Middleton will be mascots for the day as part of a link with one of the club’s sponsors, Mark Bates and Sons of Middleton, Ready-Mix Concrete.

The club’s Irish international prop Wayne Kerr was invited to the school this week to talk rugby to the children, who have recently been introduced to touch rugby as part of their sporting curriculum.

At the last home game, against Doncaster, local amateurs Higginshaw were presented with Clubmark certificates on the pitch at half time and it has since emerged that they turned down an opportunity for the presentations to take place at Super League Club, Salford City Reds, in favour of sticking with Roughyeds.

Said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton: “We really appreciated Higgy’s gesture and we felt it was a sign that things were definitely on the up in terms of what it means to have Roughyeds back where they belong — in Oldham.

“We were not able to put on curtain-raisers and other things like that when we were at Boundary Park and the sort of thing we are doing now on match days is just one shining example of what it means to have our own place.”