Chorley and London on the move again

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Rugby League

Two clubs, close to opposite ends of the spectrum, will be playing in new settings next season. Chorley, fourth from bottom of the Second Division, are moving north following their take-over by Preston North End, while the London Broncos are to relocate from south-east to south-west London and play at Richmond Rugby Union Club's ground.

The Broncos' chairman, Barry Maranta, will announce today that the club is to quit The Valley after just one season as tenants of Charlton Athletic.

"We have given it our best shot, but we can't keep mucking about with them," said Maranta, who apart from coming to the conclusion that The Valley is in the wrong part of London is dismayed by the match-day costs at the ground.

"We are going to west London, to a stadium where we will be able to rely on support of 6,000 to 8,000," he said.

Although the formalities remain to be completed, that venue will be Richmond's Athletic Ground, closer to the code's sentimental home in the capital at Fulham, with whom the Broncos also held talks.

"We will be going there with tremendous momentum behind us, having finished fourth in Super League," Maranta said.

Meanwhile, Preston yesterday announced that they had acquired the Chorley club, which will be re-named Central Lancashire. It is the latest twist in a decade of wanderings, which began when the old Blackpool Borough club moved to Wigan in 1987.

The multi-millionaire Trevor Hemmings, who took control of Chorley earlier this year, is a major backer of Preston, whose Deepdale will be used for first-team matches. The Academy and Alliance teams will continue to play at Victory Park in Chorley.

The chief executive of the , Maurice Lindsay, has welcomed the move, which is in line with the League's desire to see the game played in major areas of population. "The facilities at Deepdale are first class and I have been impressed with the enthusiasm for this new venture by everybody at Preston North End," he said.

Lindsay is to hold an inquiry into crowd trouble at Sunday's divisional premiership semi-final between Keighley and Hull. There were injuries and arrests when fans spilled on to the pitch at Cougar Park and play was held up for 20 minutes.

The Australian Aborigines arrive later this month for their first tour of Great Britain. They will play seven matches, including two Tests against the British Amateur Association open age team.

The tour, planned as part of the Aborigines' 75th anniversary celebrations, will open against a York President's XIII on 29 September and will end with the second Test at Salford on 20 October.

AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES tour itinerary: September 29 v York President's XIII (at York); October 3 Humberside (Hull); 6 Yorkshire (Batley); 10 Cumbria (Barrow); 13 First Test (Workington); 16 Lancashire (Leigh); 20 Second Test (Salford).