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Scott promises tough decisions — and team changes

FORMER Oldham stars Wally Gibson and Marcus St Hilare, who will be guests of the club on Sunday and introduced to the crowd at half-time, will see a different Roughyeds’ line-up against Keighley Cougars (3pm kick off) to the one beaten 24-16 by Hunslet last time out.

In the days since a performance described by head coach Scott Naylor as “unacceptable” Oldham have strengthened with the addition of three new players on loan, Kieran Gill, Luke Hooley and Lee Kershaw, all of whom trained with the squad for the first time last night (Thursday).

Dual-reg players from Salford will also be available to Naylor, who is anxious to get a home win at the Vestacare Stadium after two league defeats already there by York City Knights and Hunslet.

He’ll be selecting from a squad of 25, not counting dual-reg, and changes will be on the agenda.

Said the Roughyeds’ boss:

“I have to make these decisions because we’ve lost our last two games. We can’t keep on doing the same thing if we are losing games so we’ll make some changes and see where it gets us.”

Fans from Watersheddings days will be delighted to welcome back Gibson, a brilliant Australian full-back, whose transfer from Huddersfield (in the days when they played at Fartown) hit the back page headlines of both the Oldham Evening Chronicle and the Huddersfield Examiner.

Wally went on to make 111 appearances for Oldham in the early-to-mid 1990s when he set the local rugby league scene alight with his brilliant attacking play from full-back.

He is currently on holiday in this area, visiting his former haunts in Oldham and Huddersfield and looking up old friends.

With him at the Vestacare on Sunday will be another former fans’ favourite in Marcus St Hilaire, who played 86 games for the ‘new’ Roughyeds between 2008 and 2011 after a hugely-impressive Super League career with Bradford, Huddersfield and Leeds.

Other former players may also be present, including winger Aidie Belle, who played in the same Oldham side as Gibson about 25 years ago.

Fast forward nearly quarter of a century and the trio of new loan signings, full-back Hooley (19) and winger Kershaw (18), from Wakefield Trinity, and centre or wing Gill (22) from Castleford Tigers, will be hoping to make their bow on the Vestacare Stadium’s state-of-the-art artificial pitch.

Gill and Hooley have played on loan with Roughyeds in previous seasons, but home games then were played at Bower Fold.

Seeking their third win in a row, Cougars are likely to play Welsh international Ben Morris, who made his debut last week in an 80-10 win against Hemel Stags after joining Keighley on loan from St Helens.

He played a few games for Roughyeds at centre last season, but he may well feature for Cougars in the second-row.

And making his debut could be former Super League veteran Darrell Griffin (36), a prop forward whose CV includes more than 300 ‘super’ games with Wakefield, Huddersfield, Leeds and Salford.

More recently, he was a top forward at Featherstone, but Cougars have this week signed him to the end of the season after his brief stint with Morley RU Club.

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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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