Mark Bates & Sons is Main Club Sponsor for 2011

Date published: Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A MIDDLETON-BASED concrete firm has “significantly increased” its support of Oldham Rugby League Club to become the Roughyeds’ main club sponsor in 2011.

Mark Bates and Sons Ltd, ready-mix concrete suppliers of Middleton Junction, backed Roughyeds for the first time in 2010 as one of several shirt sponsors.

Managing director Mark Bates (42), who has a football background, got hooked on rugby league and on the club’s determination to build a future in its new home at the Whitebank Stadium.

Now, club and company have forged a new deal in which Mark Bates and Sons Ltd will increase the firm’s financial commitment and, in so doing, will head the Roughyeds’ sponsorship portfolio over the next 12 months.

Appropriately, the announcement comes only five days before the start of the new season in which newly-promoted Hunslet Hawks come to Whitebank on Sunday in the Northern Rail Cup (3pm kick off).

“Mark has literally bought in to what we are trying to achieve,” said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton. “Needless to say, we are extremely grateful to him for his support which he has increased significantly this year.

“With Mark’s help, and that of others like him, we can make Whitebank a ground that people will be proud of and hopefully attract more people who are interested in backing us at a corporate level.

“In the meantime we will be working hard with Mark to ensure that our partnership is of mutual benefit, to his company as well as to the club.”

A recently-retired amateur goalkeeper, Mark has been a football fan all his life.

“I think football can learn a lot from rugby league,” he said. “It’s rough and tough, but discipline and respect run right through the sport from top to bottom.

“I really enjoyed my first season as a Roughyeds supporter and so did several members of my extended family whom I introduced to the sport.

“This year the boys are targeting automatic promotion and I have a feeling they will be there or thereabouts. I sense that we are a lot stronger now than this time last year.

“I was particularly impressed by the way we ‘nilled’ Whitehaven and the enthusiasm we displayed in keeping our try line intact when our opponents were playing down the slope in the second half.

“Our rearguard action was terrific, and it speaks volumes, I think, for the squad that Chris (chairman Hamilton) and Tony (coach Benson) have put together.”