BURY Broncos’ success shows no sign of abating a year after their inception — and they could be on their way to Whitefield.
The local team, who play in Division Five of the North West Counties Amateur Rugby League competition, are going from strength to strength on and off the field as they look to gain a foothold in the town.
Led by secretary Michael Palin, they have laid solid foundations in a borough that is traditionally dominated by football, cricket and rugby union.
Up against local rivals like Bolton Mets, Westhoughton Lions, Blackburn and Rochdale Cobras, they are more than holding their own and establishing what they hope will become a thriving set-up.
“We held an open meeting at Castle Leisure Centre about two years ago and it has gone from there really,” said Palin. “We are in our second season and we have around 25 players signed on.
“The idea came about when I was playing for Langworthy in Salford and there were six or seven players who played there from the borough of Bury, and mainly from Prestwich.
“We decided to have a crack at setting up our own club and it has been better for some lads.
“We are finding that there are also people moving into the area who want to get involved with us.”
As the team find their feet on the pitch, talks are underway to build up the club off the pitch.
They currently play their home games at the Derby High School in Bury but are hoping to move to Philips High School in Whitefield as part of an arrangement that would see them reach out into the local community.
“Philips already have good rugby league facilities because Salford City Reds’ academy teams play there,” said 28-year-old Palin.
“We want to move there eventually and in return we will run after school classes and introduce junior teams.
“We would like to get a team in the under-eight age range and one or two that encompass the 13-15 age groups.
“There are summer and winter rugby league competitions, but we want summer teams because the established clubs like Wigan etc play in the winter and it wouldn’t be fair for our youngsters to be up against them.
“We want to introduce more youngsters to the sport and we will be looking for volunteers who we can train up into qualified coaches.
“We want a structured rugby league development programme in place.”
One man who has taken advantage of the Broncos’ move to Bury is Daniel Lockey — who was not even a fan of the sport until a few months ago.
He said: “I went down to training with a mate and now I am starting games in the hooker position.
“I had no interest in rugby league, but I love it now and even deal with the PR side of things for the club.
“There is a good atmosphere in the camp and the lads all get on well.”
Player-coach Paul Bullough, who has been playing for the club since its inception, added: “It’s been a tough journey with a raw team made up of rugby league lads, rugby union lads and footballers, but the camaradarie within the ranks is fantastic and the club has developed into a big family.”
One thing is for sure, these Broncos are here to stay.