Rhondda Outlaws host Bridgend Blue Bulls in a WRL Premier League fixture at Sardis Road in Pontypridd today (kick-off 2.30pm), but it could be their last match at the stadium unless they can find extra funds to play there writes Ian Golden.
They could also be forced out of the Rhondda unless they can find an alternative ground with suitable facilities for the 2018 season.
Rhondda Cynon Taff County Council are wanting to rest a number of their grass pitches before the rugby union season starts in August, but they could be unaware that the lack of competitive scrums, rucks or mauls in league, coupled with the more free-flowing style of play, means that the pitches don’t get torn up as much in the 13-man game.
The club have approached Porth and Rhydyfelin rugby union clubs, both of whom have suitable facilities, but the council have refused them access.
The Outlaws have just the one home game left for 2017, a rearranged fixture against West Wales Raiders on a date to be confirmed, so they are now fund-raising so they can pay the rent to Pontypridd RFC.
Coach James Allen said “Any donations to assist the club would be most grateful. The best thing everyone can do is to come along to our game against Bridgend this Saturday, support the team and show everyone that this is a Rugby League club we can be proud of.
“We’ve had fantastic support from the local media. The Pontypridd Observer highlighted us this week and we’ve some great stuff coming out of the GTFM radio station, who will be at the ground on Saturday doing live updates on their Season Ticket programme.
“Everybody thought they would put 100 points past us but we have really held our own against much more established teams. We haven’t won a game yet, but we are confident we can get a win before the end of the season.”
Speaking to Wales Online, Rhondda AM Leanne Wood is supporting the Outlaws’ attempts to establish a permanent, affordable home ground.
She said: “I have called upon the council, as the owner of many grounds in the area, to do what they can to help the fledging rugby league side which has already achieved much in its infancy.
“It would be a real shame if the Rhondda were to lose this rugby league team because they couldn’t find a pitch to play on that was affordable. A move away from the Rhondda would undoubtedly impact on the prospects of any local youngsters looking to take up the game as well.
“Losing the Outlaws would also run counter to efforts to encourage people to be fit, active and lead a healthy lifestyle. I therefore hope a solution can be found and fast.”
Bridgend Blue Bulls beat Torfaen Tigers at home last week so they will be itching to get another victory to help their charge for the semi-finals.
Rhondda Outlaws v Bridgend Blue Bulls is at Sardis Road in Pontypridd on Saturday 8th July, admission £3 for adults, free for under 16s.