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Oldham go West to sign a second trialist

OLDHAM have followed up the capture of centre Zach McComb with the signing of his ex-Siddal wing partner Ben West on a one-year contract.

The 21-year-old West, who has been training with Roughyeds since last November, played as a trialist in pre-season games against Barrow Raiders and Keighley Cougars.

Unlike McComb, he has played all his rugby at Siddal — most of it on the left wing outside the former Huddersfied Giants youngster, whose signing was announced earlier.

Roughyeds’ head coach Scott Naylor has high hopes for both players, suggesting they could cope with a higher standard of rugby if they continue to progress as they have done since starting training.

West, who’s been at Siddal since he was a boy, was disappointed to miss out on selection when they beat Leigh Miners in the 2016 National Conference premier division grand final.

That made me all the more determined to have a better year in 2017 and I think I achieved that,” said West, who picked up several club awards in a season in which Siddal finished top of the premier division, but lost to Thatto Heath in the grand final.

Like his centre partner, he pinpointed the Challenge Cup tie against Toronto Wolfpack as one of the highlights of the year.

At the end of last season he was keen to accept Oldham’s invitation to prove himself in a professional environment.

He said:

“It was a good decision too because it’s been a great experience. The other boys were great with us from the start. It’s a very professional set-up at Oldham  and I’m really enjoying my time there.

“I’m buzzing and I can’t wait to get started. It’s a step-up for me, but I’m loving the challenge. I hope to get a few games and go from there.”

Speaking for the first time about the two Siddall signings, Naylor said:

“We had a few trialists on board and we had to make some difficult decisions. We decided Zach and Ben were what we were looking for.

“Zach can bring a lot to us. He’s quick, good off both feet, with good skills and a great attitude. He’s hungry for it too.

“Both of them could progress to a higher level if they continue to work hard.

“Of all five trialists, Ben has been the big surprise package. He’s gone better and better while he’s been with us. He’s a quiet lad, but he plays and trains hard and he’s done everything we’ve asked of him. 

“Against Keighley he was one of the best players on the field, deceptively strong and with a brilliant work ethic.”

Naylor also spoke highly about two trialists who won’t be offered terms — winger Chris Barlow, who scored a try in the Law Cup win at Rochdale and local lad Harry Maders.

In thanking both players personally for all they had contributed over the last three months, he said:

“We’ve had a tough pre-season and we’ve played some tough games, especially up at Barrow. Throughout it all, Chris and Harry were a credit to themselves and handled it very well indeed.

“However, it wouldn’t have been fair to either of them to keep them on. The squad would have been too big in terms of keeping everybody happy and giving them game time.

“They’re extremely disappointed with our decisions, but the best way forward for both of them in the long run is to be somewhere where they can be playing week in and week out and hopefully that will be in this division.”

Cup-Tie Date

OLDHAM have confirmed that their third-round Ladbrokes Challenge Cup tie against Featherstone Lions will take place at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday, February 25, kick-off 3pm.

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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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