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Nine games to go — and still third

AS the cut-and-thrust quest for play-off qualification continued over the weekend, Oldham remained in third place despite their defeat at Keighley.

Roughyeds are the lead club of four on 22 points thanks to their vastly superior for-and-against record compared with Workington, Whitehaven and Hunslet.

Scott Naylor’s boys have the second best defensive record in the division and have conceded only 14 more than leaders Bradford Bulls.

In the ‘for’ column, they are well behind the top two, Bradford and York, but they’ve scored more than the Cumbrian clubs and Hunslet, producing a for-and-against difference that’s worth an extra point overall when compared with their nearest rivals.

Only the top two boast a better ‘difference’ than Oldham’s 403 which compares very favourably indeed with Workington (222), Whitehaven (175), Hunslet (107), Doncaster (261) and Keighley (214).

With 17 rounds completed out of 26 there’s still almost a third of the regular season to go with Oldham looking forward to four games at home and five away.

Assuming that either Bradford or York City Knights will fill one of the play-off spots that leaves six clubs chasing three places with Roughyeds currently heading the six.

Only two points separate Oldham in third and Keighley in eighth spot so it’s going to be a neck-and-neck fight to the finish.

Oldham’s attention now switches to this coming Sunday and the visit of North Wales Crusaders to the Vestacare Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Having enjoyed a run of eight wins in a row before injuries began to kick-in, Roughyeds need to quickly turn things round after a disappointing spell of form.

There’s good news on the injury situation, however, with Danny Langtree, Kyran Johnson, Matty Wilkinson and Matt Reid all said to be optimistic about being available again this weekend.

North Wales Crusaders, whom Roughyeds beat 30-2 in Wrexham in March, had an excellent 24-20 win at Newcastle Thunder yesterday (Sun).

Former Oldham half-back Steve Roper didn’t play, but winger Dale Bloomfield, another ex-Roughyed, scored a crucial try and took the League Express man-of-the-match award after a performance in which he was said to be ‘superb all afternoon’.

Latest results: Coventry Bears 20, Hemel Stags 18; Doncaster 102, West Wales Raiders 6; Hunslet 16, Bradford Bulls 36; Keighley Cougars 15, OLDHAM 8; London Skolars 20, York City Knights 22; Newcastle Thunder 20, North Wales Crusaders 24; Workington Town 22, Whitehaven 24.

Coming up: Coventry Bears v Keighley Cougars; West Wales Raiders v Workington Town; Bradford Bulls v York City Knights; Hunslet v Doncaster; Newcastle Thunder v Hemel Stags; OLDHAM v North Wales Crusaders; Whitehaven v London Skolars.

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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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