Time to raise a glass — and party !Date published: Friday, October 2, 2015
IT’S party time for Oldham Rugby League Club tonight when players, coaching staff, fans and sponsors celebrate the Roughyeds’ promotion to the Kingstone Press Championship after nine seasons in League One or its third-tier equivalent.
The club was relegated from tier two back in 2006, at the height of a financial crisis, and since then they have suffered six heartbreaking Grand Final defeats before finally reaching their Holy Grail with victory against Keighley Cougars in the top v second promotion final at Whitebank.
Watched by a ground-record crowd of 1,405, it was the Roughyeds’ 14th win in a row — another club record in league matches — and it paved the way for captain Lewis Palfrey to receive the League One championship trophy only eight days after he lifted the League Leaders’ Shield on the final day of the regular season down in Oxford.
Both trophies will be on view at tonight’s sell-out celebration dinner at Whitebank where Roughyeds have lost only one league game in the last two and a half years.
Fans will watch a big-screen review of a season with a silver lining in which Kingstone Press coach-of-the-year Scott Naylor shepherded his side to 19 wins from 22 games and then master-minded the 31-20 triumph against Keighley to win the biggest prize of the lot — promotion.
It will be a big night for all concerned and none more so than long-serving chairman Chris Hamilton, who formed the club with three others in 1997 and has stuck with it through good times and bad ever since.
He and Naylor are already plotting and planning for next season, but for a few hours at least tonight they will take time off to celebrate and to raise a glass to their class of 2015 and all they achieved in a memorable summer.