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Four changes in 19-man squad

SCOTT Naylor has made four changes in his 19-man squad for tomorrow’s Betfred League 1 clash with London Skolars at the Vestacare Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Compared with the 19 named for last week’s 60-0 win at Coventry, Steven Nield, Danny Rasool, Matt Reid and Ben West stand down, replaced by Luke Hooley, Dave Eccleston, Jack Spencer and Danny Bridge.

Second-row man Bridge was given a rest last week and missed his first game of the season.

Prop Spencer (back) and winger Eccleston (knee) were carrying injuries but are now fully fit.

Squad: Bent, Bridge, Briscoe, Crook, Davies, Eccleston, Hewitt, Holmes, Hooley, Johnson, Jones, Joy, Kershaw, Langtree, McComb, Nelmes, Owen, Spencer, Wilkinson.

Oldham will be going for their eighth league win in a row, having beaten Keighley Cougars, Newcastle Thunder, Hemel Stags and Doncaster at home and Workington Town, West Wales Raiders and Coventry Bears away.

They still have a long way to go to match their record of consecutive wins the last time they were in League 1.

That was in the promotion season of 2015 when they won their last FOURTEEN games of the season, starting with a 64-0 home romp against Oxford on
June 14 and ending with the 31-20 defeat of Keighley Cougars in the Promotion Final on September 20.

Of the players currently at the club Phil Joy made 27 appearances that season alongside Kenny Hughes (24), Danny Langtree (24), Adam Neal (24), Jack Holmes (22), Steven Nield (8) and Dave Hewitt (6).

Skolars are averaging 25 points a game although they’ve won only three and drawn one of their 12 league outings and have lost their last five.

Last week they led Hunslet 18-0 before the Yorkshiremen hit back to win 37-30, a late drop goal by Cain Southernwood easing Hunslet’s concerns.

Skolars conceded 36 unanswered points to trail 18-36, but then showed their fighting spirit by pulling back to 30-36 before the one-pointer finally finished them off.

New signing Iliess Macani, brought in on loan from Sheffield, played on the right wing and is expected to be there again tomorrow.

The 24-year-old Tottenham-born winger played initially in the Skolars junior ranks before moving on to London Broncos.

He then had a stay at Bradford Bulls before moving to Sheffield at the start of this season.

Skolars coach Jermaine Coleman told League Express: “He’ll add experience and a threat on the edges and he’ll create something out of nothing, which is what we’ve been lacking.”

Others to watch out for are Ryan Burroughs, last week named Skolars’ top man by League Express and a fullback who has scored a try in each of his side’s last four games ; goalkicking half-back Neil Thorman, next one down behind Paul Crook in the list of third-tier points scorers; and second-row Lamont Bryan.

Having been watched by fewer than 500 fans in their last three home games against Newcastle, Hemel and Doncaster (despite playing good, winning rugby), Roughyeds are hoping fans will turn up in numbers tomorrow; spread the gospel; and encourage friends, relatives and workmates to “give it a try”.

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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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