Oldham chairman issues public apology after Challenge Cup exit to Lock Lane

Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton has issued an apology to supporters following their Challenge Cup defeat to Lock Lane.

The League 1 side were humbled by amateur opposition, losing 22-12 to the Castleford outfit, while play twice had to stopped due to the floodlights going off, plunging the ground into darkness.

It was a troubling start to the season both for the team, which is much-changed following relegation from the Championship, and for the club on their return to Oldham at the Vestacare Stadium, and Hamilton apologised for “an embarrassing night”.

“On (the field), we failed to show the desire that is a pre requisite in any game and we ultimately paid the price,” he said. “For the wrong reasons, we created a little bit of club history.

“Off the field, the problems with the floodlights, for the second game in a row, was the last thing we needed, especially in front of a live audience, both at the ground and via OuRLeague.

“I have already apologised, last night, to Ralph Rimmer, the Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League on the club’s behalf.

“After the Wakefield game, when we experienced similar problems, we took action based on what Avro (the football club which own the ground) had told us had caused the issue, but given that it happened again last night there’s clearly another problem. We will obviously follow this up again, given the recurring problem last night.

“What this does highlight, once again, is the massive issue that not having a ground of our own causes. For 25 years now we have battled against this problem and continue to do so.”

On team matters, Hamilton added: “A lot of hard work has gone into pre-season, with what is primarily a brand-new squad, and sadly, a lot of the optimism generated will have been dented last night. 

“That is something the players have to take responsibility for because it is they who take the field.

“As Chairman I will continue to work as hard as ever and in Stu Littler we have a coach who cares very much about what happens and, like us all, is hurting right now.

“We are not naive enough to think this one game will define our season and in some ways it will be used as additional motivation by us, collectively, to ensure that, come the start of the league season in March, we are as well prepared as we can be.”

A full match report from Lock Lane’s victory at Oldham can be found in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.