Professional Rugby League will return to the Bridgend County Borough for the first time in over four years after South Wales Scorpions today agreed a move to Maesteg RFC.

Celtic Crusaders played at the Brewery Field in Bridgend, nine miles south of Maesteg, from 2006 until 2009 before moving north to Wrexham. They were disbanded in 2011 before reforming in 2012 as North Wales Crusaders.State of Mind 171 Jimmy in Wales

South Wales Scorpions were formed in 2010 to continue professional Rugby League in South Wales playing their first four seasons at Neath RFC.

The Kingstone Press Championship 1 side will play their first game at the famous Old Parish ground on Sunday 2nd March when Oldham Roughyeds are the visitors (kick-off 3pm).

The Wales Rugby League governing body are based at Maesteg School, the home of the South Wales RL Academy so with the support in place in the area, WRL Chief Operating Officer Chris Thair believes that the Scorpions can really set down roots in the Llynfi Valley.

“We’ve had amazing support from the people of Maesteg already,” he said. “Maesteg RFC really want to host us throughout 2014 and beyond. They’re enthusiastic about promoting the club in the area and making every game an event.

“We’re already in Maesteg School with our Academy set-up, and they have also promised their support in promoting home games and selling tickets. The work that they have already done and the ideas that they have is tremendous and everyone is looking forward to getting started and making the club a success.

“The wider community in Maesteg are also already showing their enthusiasm as word of mouth that the Scorpions are moving to Maesteg has already spread round the area. All of Maesteg Schools’ cluster primary schools in the town are wanting to sell tickets and there are other organisations in the area who are signing up to sponsor the club. We’ve even got a local Maesteg-based charity who are set to be the club’s official charity for 2014.

“We’d like to thank Neath RFC for being fantastic hosts over the last four years. We’ve had some good times in the area, their support for the club has been invaluable and we hope we will continue our good relations with them as fellow sporting organisations.”maesteg

David Morgan, Maesteg RFC chairman, said: “We at Maesteg RFC are very pleased to be hosting the South Wales Scorpions for this forthcoming season. They will have a warm welcome and I am sure plenty of support for what will primarily be a summer sport.

“Maesteg RFC has a rich history of developing cross code players and Welsh internationals like Allan Bateman, Ike Owens, Kevin Ellis, Karl Hocking and Grant Epton – with the latter two being our current club coaches – and we hope to continue this in the future. This is an opportunity for us, the town of Maesteg, and Llynfi valley to be the home of both codes in Wales and to put Maesteg on the rugby map once again.”

Further news in regards to ticket sales for individual matches and season tickets will be released in the next few days.

The match on March 2nd will be the sixth senior Rugby League game to be played at Maesteg RFC.

The first was in 2005 when Bridgend Blue Bulls faced Valley Cougars at Maesteg RFC. A crowd of around 1,500 proved there is appetite for the game in the Llynfi Valley. They went back there in 2010 to face the same opposition.

Celtic Crusaders took on Keighley Cougars there in 2006, winning 58-18. This game was moved from the Brewery Field as that ground was still clearing up after a Bryan Adams concert two days before.

Then on November 8th 2009, on the last day that professional Rugby League was played in the Bridgend County Borough before this year, Italy beat Serbia 42-14 and Lebanon beat Ireland 40-16 in a European Cup ranking double header event at Maesteg RFC moved from Bridgend as adverse weather conditions couldn’t warrant three games in one day at the Brewery Field. Wales beat Scotland to win the European Cup in Bridgend later that day.

In addition, throughout 2009, Celtic Crusaders reserves played 12 games, their under 18s played four times and the under 16s once at Maesteg RFC. Finally, last month two under 18 games featuring the Maesteg School based South Wales RL Academy side were played at the Old Parish ground.