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New boys on parade in Law Cup opener

OLDHAM’S ten new signings — four forwards, six backs — will all get a run in tonight’s Law Cup clash with Rochdale Hornets at the Crown Oil Arena (7.45).

Rival coaches Scott Naylor and Alan Kilshaw have agreed to use no more than 20 players.

Gareth Owen and Phil Joy, both engaged in rehab after operations, will not be in the Roughyeds’ party, which may be stretched to 20 by the inclusion of an unnamed non-contract back who has been training with the club.

The ten new boys are forwards Danny Bridge, Adam Jones, Luke Nelmes and Liam Bent; full-back Kyran Johnson; stand-off Paul Crook; and outside backs Dave Eccleston, Jack Holmes, Danny Rasool and Matt Reid.

OLDHAM (from): Bent, Bridge, Briscoe, Crook, Davies, Eccleston, Hewitt, Holmes, Hughes, Johnson, Jones, Langtree, Neal, Nelmes, Nield, Rasool, Reid, Spencer, Wilkinson, A N Other.

It will be a big night for former Hornets trio Bridge, Crook and Holmes but no more so than it will for the unlucky Craig Briscoe, who has had two injury-ruined seasons at Oldham and is on the threshold of a new beginning after major surgery to rebuild a knee.

Hornets, who hold the Law Cup, have asked their players to take a pay cut because of financial difficulties, but have told supporters that “the club stands on the brink of a great season with a team hungry for success and determined to overcome this temporary setback.”

Looking ahead to Oldham’s League 1 campaign, head coach Naylor said: “We don’t start until February 18, but Rochdale kick-off on February 4. Those two weeks make a big difference in terms of where you are up to in your preparation.

“The Law Cup game has come too early for us really, but it’s a great concept and I firmly believe it needs to be played every year.

“I would have preferred to play it later in the month, but it is what it is and we get on with it. It’s the first of our three pre-season games and, like all first games with lots of new players out there together for the first time, you know a lot more after the opening ten to 15 minutes.

“Early on in the game I expect a bit of confusion and rustiness, but one helluva lot of enthusiasm because a few of the players have points to prove.

“These games are always intense affairs with bragging rights at stake and they very rarely disappoint.”

Hornets also have 11 players on debut, including three former Roughyeds in Richard Lepori, Luke Adamson and Dave Allen, who will be returning to the game after a year out.

In total there are five ex-Oldham men in the squad; the above three plus Lewis Palfrey and Gary Middlehurst.

The other new boys are Toby Adamson, Earl Hurst, Callum Mulkeen, Alex Gaskell, Aiden Hema, Billy Brickhill, Blake Turner and Dec Gregory.

HORNETS: Lepori; Kay, Mulkeen, Hurst, Gaskell; Palfrey, Yates; Taira, Moores, Mitchell, Allen, Middlehurst, L Adamson; replacements, Maneely, Hatton, Hema, T Adamson, Brickhill, Turner, Gregory, Hadden.

Both clubs are urging as many fans as possible to back their respective teams and thus provide a great atmosphere at what is sure to be a a hotly-contested and intense derby battle.

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Club Cash

AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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