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League One

11 May 2022

Oldham launch partnership with North Herts Crusaders

Oldham launch partnership with North Herts Crusaders

Oldham RLFC have launched a formal partnership with Southern Conference League club, North Herts Crusaders, who are based in Hitchin and are part of the ever-growing grassroots Rugby League scene in London and surrounding areas.

Several players from the south of England are currently on contract with Super League clubs, while others are playing in the Betfred Championship.

Crusaders have an Open Age team in the Southern Conference, a second Open Age team in the Eastern Premier League and junior teams at under 13s, under 14s, under 15s and under 16s level.

The juniors are affiliated to the London Junior Leagues and, over the last seven years, several of them have signed for professional clubs on full-time contracts.

Formed in 2012, and currently enjoying their tenth anniversary season, Crusaders have previously had a player pathway with London Broncos, for whom one of their own, Jordan Williams, is currently in the Broncos squad.

Joe Hall, another product of the North Herts club, is currently playing on contract, and to a good standard, in the Penrith area of New South Wales in Australia.

As a further example of the club's rapid growth and development, it diversified last year; became a multi-sports club; and launched netball sides. It currently fields two netball teams each week with a third in the pipeline.

As well as that, Crusaders have also launched a Women's section with ambitions to enter the Betfred Women's Super League.

In announcing the new partnership, Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton said: "This is the first time we've had formal links with a club outside the professional game.

"It's a way in which we can diversify our involvement in Rugby League and give all the help we can to a go-ahead club that is at the heart of a development area in North Hertfordshire."

Crusaders chairman Oliver Adams said: "Establishing a formal relationship with a club like Oldham RLFC has no end to the benefits and possibilities it brings.

"From initial conversations with Chris, ideas flowed quickly around what this partnership could materialise. For us, it gives our players another pathway into the professional game and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring our players have opportunities to progress.

"It would allow us to draw from their experience across coaching, player development, club management and commercial activities.

"Over the next couple of months, we plan to meet Stuart Littler and the coaching team, for our coaches to work with them through coaching clinics, strategy and game management.

"Having had several players kick on to play in the professional leagues and with the vast array of talent within our junior ranks, it would be great to see that pathway created come to fruition over the next few years."