MAY marked 25 years since Saddleworth Rangers completed the club’s greatest-ever season.
In 1992/93 the Shaw Hall Bank Road side won the League Cup and the National Cup as well as finishing top of the best division in amateur rugby, the National Conference League championship.
To honour the achievement, the club is arranging a reunion at their next home game against West Bowling on Saturday June, 16.
Mick Coates, first-team coach at the time, said: “I’m definitely proud of it. It put us on the map. We’d been there and done it and got the T-shirt and pictures to show for it.
“It wasn’t heard of at the time for an Oldham club to get to those finals. The players raised their level and to be there and experience it was great.”
The triple trophy season came towards the end of a run of four appearances in National Cup finals in five years. The team lost their first in 1990 before winning in 91, 93 and 94.
Mick continued: “Looking back, it was a period of success that took us all by surprise.
“We weren’t doing anything we thought was special at the time.
“We just had super fit lads, we trained really hard and we had some good players.
“At the first final when we lost we’d just thought it was for teams from Wigan and Leigh, but we broke into it and got a taste for it.
“By 93 it was our third final in four years and I think that they might have been more worried about us.”
It was 1992/93 that would break all the records, with much of the success down to a run of 26 games unbeaten following a defeat in the Standard Cup at Waterhead.
A huge backlog of fixtures mounted up as Rangers swept their way through to the final of the League Cup against Askam at Twist Lane, the Leigh Miners ground, where they coasted to a 25-10 victory.
The Rangers team was: Colin Garrett; Barry Greenwood, Shaun Cooper, Pete Gallagher, Paul Coates; Paul Garrett, Chris Garforth; Gary Dobbs, Jason Wilks, Andy Proctor, John Fleming, Steve Maudsley, Sean Whitehead. Substitutes: Terry Shaw, Colin Smith.
Rangers’ championship aspirations were hampered by their success in the two major cup competitions.
Almost 200 clubs entered the National Amateur Cup so Rangers, despite being exempt from the first two rounds, had to negotiate six rounds to reach the final against Hensignham at Knowsley Road, St Helens.
The team was: Colin Garrett; Barry Greenwood, Shaun Cooper, Pete Gallagher, Paul Coates; Paul Garrett, David John; Gary Dobbs, Jason Wilks, Terry Shaw, John Fleming, Steve Maudsley, Sean Whitehead. Substitutes: Phil Cunliffe, Colin Smith.
Once again Rangers produced a clinical performance against stubborn opponents to win 23-16.
Earlier in the month Rangers finally caught, and passed, season-long league leaders Egremont and ended the season five points clear.
A never-to-be-forgotten season had come to a close. Rangers achieved a level of success that hasn’t yet been repeated in this town, and quite possibly, in the whole of amateur rugby league.
Everyone who was involved at the club in any way during the period is invited to celebrate and remember those days at the clubhouse from 1pm on Saturday, June 16.