LEE Spencer has welcomed an early opportunity for Oldham to avenge last Sunday’s 32-30 home defeat by Workington Town in a relegation thriller.
Hugely lifted by three narrow wins in a row, after losing 17 and drawing one of their previous 20, the Cumbrians return to Bower Fold on Sunday week, August 7, in the first of Roughyeds’ seven matches in the Kingstone Press Championship Shield Super 8s.
“And every one of them will have the intensity of a cup-tie,” said Scott Naylor’s No 2, speaking at the RFL’s Super 8s media launch in Manchester.
Having learned that Workington would be first up — only 14 days after they and Roughyeds knocked six bells out of each other at Bower Fold in the last of the 23 regular league games — ‘Spanner’ added: “Bring it on.
“It’s an early chance for us to put things right. There’s a lot of things we can improve on.”
Oldham’s Shield fixtures look like this (all games kick off at 3pm):
- Sunday, August 7, Workington Town (h)
- Sunday, August 14, Swinton Lions (a)
- Sunday, August 21, Bradford Bulls (a)
- Monday, August 29 (Bank Holiday), Sheffield Eagles (h)
- Sunday, September 4, Halifax (a)
- Sunday, September 11, Whitehaven (h)
- Sunday, September 18, Dewsbury Rams (a)
While Dewsbury and Sheffield could still be dragged into the fight to avoid the drop, it’s more likely that any two of Swinton, Oldham, Workington and Whitehaven will find themselves in League One next year,
Asked about Roughyeds’ chances of finishing outside the bottom two, Spencer said: “We are slightly disappointed at our league position (third off bottom) going into the Shield, but we are fully focused on what we need to do.
“At first in this division we were a little bit in awe of some of the other teams and it took us a while to find our feet.
“With Scott in overall charge, I sort the forwards and Pete Carey (the other assistant) looks after the backs.
“We’ve been up and down during the 80 minutes of a game, let alone across the course of the season. We’ve done some stuff that you would be pleased to see in the NRL; other stuff that you wouldn’t want to see in an amateur game.
“We’ve been hampered by injuries and a lack of consistency, but we’ve had our high points and we’ve enjoyed them, as have our supporters.
“We musn’t moan about financial restraints, or use that as an excuse, because we knew what it would be like before we came up last year and it was where we wanted to be, and where we still want to be.
“Thinking we were doing the right thing, we’ve cut back over the past month on some of the physical stuff we were doing in training and that might have had something to do with how we’ve been conceding early points and then giving ourselves a lot to do.
“Slow starts have become an issue, but if we can address that and play to the best of our ability in at least four of the seven games we’ll stay up.”
Season Ticket Entitlement
Season-ticket holders are reminded that the three Shield games at Bower Fold are regarded as normal league games for ticket purposes and that admission is covered by their season’s pass.