Oldham RLFC

The Roughyeds


Crook back on familiar patch

POINTS-MACHINE Paul Crook has warned that Oldham’s big-game introduction to Betfred League 1 at Whitehaven on Sunday (3pm) will be even tougher than expected.

Signed by Roughyeds to kick goals, boot opponents to death and dictate tactics, midfield maestro Crook (31) has inside knowledge, having starred for the Cumbrians last season in a half-back double-act with his ex-Rochdale ally Steve Roper.

They helped to steer ‘Haven to a second-place League 1 finish, followed by narrow defeat at Barrow in the promotion final.

They then went their separate ways . . . stand-off Crook to Oldham, replacing Scott Leatherbarrow, and scrum-half Roper to North Wales Crusaders.

Now, in his first ‘serious’ game of 2018, Crook will go back to the Recreation Ground where his four goals helped the Cumbrians to a thrilling 21-20 extra-time triumph against York City Knights in their last home game of 2017.

He played in 27 of ‘Haven’s 28 games in all competitions last year, accumulating 225 points along the way.

He also learned, from the inside, why they are hard to beat at the ground they affectionately call ‘The Recre’.

He said:

“A lot of teams go there with trepidation and that makes’Haven even more determined to make it uncomfortable for them.

“They’re a big set of lads and they like to get in your face. It’s always like that. But there’s another factor at this time of year and that’s the state of the pitch. At best, it’s going to be very heavy going, which will make it even tougher.

“I know the pitch inside out so that should help when it comes to putting boot to ball, but we have to prepare for the forwards to slog it out. It won’t be a quick game.

“There couldn’t be a better introduction to League 1 though because it will test our credentials to do well this year. It will be good to get it out of the way early and to see what it tells

“It’s nice to go back to a place where you’ve had good times and met some nice people, but once the game starts it becomes like any other.”

Betfred have installed Oldham as second favourites behind Bradford Bulls to win League 1 outright with Whitehaven in third place.

Head coach Scott Naylor isn’t fazed by the weight of expectation. 

He said:

“I like starting off with a game like this.  If we win it will be a great start; If we lose, it won’t be the end of the world because it’s the first game.

“We’ve been looking forward to it and talking about it for ages. It’s among the top three or four challenges we’ll face all season, so we can use it as a guide to prospects.”

Of his 21 contracted players, only Ben Davies (back) and club captain Gareth Owen (foot) are unavailable, although Owen has reached a key milestone on his long rehab journey by starting normal training.

Naylor will pick from 19 plus dual-registration players from Salford.

‘Haven boss Carl Forster’s big decision surrounds PNG pair Jesse Joe Parker and Dion Aiye, who have only just arrived in West Cumbria after being holed up in Brisbane waiting for visas. Forster will check their general fitness, especially Aiye who contracted pneumonia while in Australia.


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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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