Archive: Dec 2021

Geoff Sims RIP

25th December 2021

It is with deep sorrow and regret that we pass on the sad news that Oldham’s former wing or full-back, Geoff Sims died on Christmas Day.

The record book shows that Geoff Sims, a neat and tidy utility back, arrived at Watersheddings from Leigh Colts making his debut on the left wing at Wakefield on August 23rd 1958. Lots of the big-name stars of that famous fifties side were still at the club, but despite the level of competition Geoff made a first-team spot his own, appearing in 204 senior games between 1958 and 1966, mainly at full-back or on the wing but occasionally at centre too.

Also an accomplished goal-kicker Geoff kicked 211 goals for Oldham, including 119 in the 1961-62 season, to go with his 59 tries.

He is well remembered for a touchdown in that never-to-be-forgotten Challenge Cup semi-final of 1964 against Hull KR, which went to three games. Playing on the wing outside John Donovan, he scored a late try in the first replay at Station Road which, with Frank Dyson’s conversion and a last minute penalty, put the Roughyeds level at 14-14 before extra-time was abandoned by referee Dennis Davies due to bad light with Oldham 17-14 ahead.

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However, in the quarter final at Hunslet in the previous round it was Geoff who secured Oldham’s place in the last four. On an absolute quagmire of a pitch at Parkside, Geoff demonstrated a superb piece of skill in kicking ahead and winning the race to touchdown. It was the turning point of the match that Oldham went on to win 7 – 5 and a brave thing to do in those days of unlimited possession (no tackle count).

Geoff continued to feature regularly in the first team before leaving to join Salford at the conclusion of the 1965-66 season.

The sincere condolences of the Heritage Trust and all at the club are extended to Geoff’s, family and friends.

New Exhibition at ‘Gallery Oldham’

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Gallery Oldham has just refreshed their “Oldham Stories” exhibition which now includes a cabinet dedicated to the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust. There is also some film footage to accompany the display.

The cabinet has been organised by Karen Heatley who has joined the Gallery’s heritage team and the display is most impressive, as is the whole of the exhibition, and is well worth a visit.

The exhibition, which opened on December 14th, is situated in Gallery One and will run for approximately six months.

Tony Martin inducted into the Rugby League Roll Of Honour

Following on just over a year from the honour given to Joseph Platt, who was inducted in August 2020, Tony Martin has been similarly honoured by the RFL.

Martin Tony

Tony’s now also flies the flag for Oldham in this esteemed category of the Rugby League order of merit. He is rewarded with this recognition for his three decades of outstanding service to the game as a match official.

In the first 25 Super League seasons from 1996 to 2020, he was one of that competition’s top touch judges as well as doing an enormous amount of work for the community game, especially in his native Oldham.

His major match appearances included ten Super League Grand Finals, five Challenge Cup finals and the 2000 World Cup Final.

He becomes the 44th member of the Roll of Honour which was launched in 2003 to recognise people who have made outstanding contributions to the game, both on and off the field.

The induction of Tony to the RFL’s Roll of Honour is not only richly deserved and a great honour for himself and his family, but another reminder of the Oldham Borough’s massive contribution to Rugby League.

First meeting for Oldham RL ‘Partners Group’

A meeting was held at the OEC centre at Boundary Park on Tuesday December 7th as part of the initiative by the new vice- chairman of Oldham RLFC, John Roddy to bring all parts of the local Rugby League community together.

The view is that, as a collective, Oldham RLFC, Rugby Oldham (Supporters Trust), YEDS (the new Roughyeds Supporters Group), the (Past) Players Assn, the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust, the Oldham Amateur League and Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council would potentially achieve much more by working together and providing a united front.

All the different groups supported that basic principle, including Oldham Council, whose top official, chief executive Harry Catherall, was present at the meeting. The unanimous opinion was that this initial meeting was a positive development for Rugby League in the town.

Oldham Rl Group

Standing (left to right): Roger Halstead, Adrian Alexander, Ginny Alexander, John Roddy, Harry Catherall (chief executive, Oldham Council), Chris Hamilton, Ian Wilson, Mike Turner, Mike Kivlin. Seated: Joe Warburton, Phil Bradbury, Jamie Hollingworth.

Roughyeds were represented by chairman Chris Hamilton and vice-chairman John Roddy, who said Roughyeds now had a “unique” opportunity to bring the local rugby league community together for mutual benefit. Also present were Mike Kivlin (chairman) and Ian Wilson (secretary) of Rugby Oldham; Phil Bradbury of the Oldham Amateur League; Mike Turner of the Oldham RL Heritage Trust, Jamie Hollingworth of YEDS, the new supporters’ group, Joe Warburton of the (Past) Players’ Assn, former player Adrian Alexander (a club ambassador), his wife Ginny (former Mayor of Oldham and current Oldham Councillor) and Roger Halstead, the Roughyeds media manager and a writer and reporter on rugby league at all levels in Oldham for 57 years

Chris Hamilton said he was thrilled by the appearance of the Council’s chief executive which, in itself, was an indication of the local authority’s interest in playing an active role in the future of the sport in Oldham. We were delighted to host the first meeting of the ‘Partners’ Group. The common denominator is we all want to see Oldham Rugby prosper.

It was decided to meet on a regular basis in working together for the benefit of Rugby League at all levels in Oldham, the general view being that here was an opportunity to show pride in the sport, pride in the town and pride in the town’s rugby league heritage and history.