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Squad building continues as Wilkinson signs new deal

​LIVEWIRE hooker Matty Wilkinson, whom coach Scott Naylor believes could have a big future in the game, has committed to Roughyeds for another year.

He is the latest of several Oldham players to resist approaches from other clubs in favour of signing a new one-year deal at the Vestacare Stadium.

“Why would I want to go anywhere else ? Oldham is a good club with a great set of lads and coaches in whom I have total respect and from whom I’m learning all the time,”

said 22-year-old Wilkinson, a Leigh lad who rose through the Salford Red Devils youth system.

He was at Leigh Miners as a boy, then had a brief courtship with the reserves at Leigh Centurions before joining Salford’s academy and eventually reaching the first-team squad.

He went out on loan to North Wales Crusaders in 2016 and then to Halifax on dual registration in the early part of 2017.

When Roughyeds discovered later that season that he was available they nipped in quickly to make him a fully-fledged Oldham player.

He scored two tries in nine appearances in 2017, followed by nine tries in 25 games last season, mainly coming off the bench with dummy-half duties shared by club captain Gareth Owen, Kenny Hughes, who has moved to North Wales Crusaders, and Wilkinson.

He was the ‘baby’ of the hooking trio and the third youngest member of last year’s squad behind Liam Bent and Adam Jones.

Of his fellow forwards only Danny Langtree (21) and Danny Bridge (10) scored more tries than Wilkinson’s nine.

Said head coach Naylor:

“I don’t think people realise how young he is. He’s still learning the game but he has become an integral part of the team and very important to us.

“He played a lot of rugby for us last season and I thought he was brilliant.

“We used him mainly off the bench because of his speed and his ability to shake up the ruck and strike out of dummy half.

“He gives 100 per cent all the time and if he continues to develop at the rate he has done in the past year I can see him taking big strides up the ladder in the not-too-distant future.”

Wilkinson, sponsored last season by John and Lynda McAndrew, said:

“As long as Oldham wanted to keep me, I wasn’t going anywhere. It’s great to be working with Nobby (Naylor) and with Pete Carey.

“We lost too many tight games narrowly last season and that’s a lesson we have to learn. We have to find a way to win in games that could go either way.

“Next season we’ll have to be on our game every single week and we’ll have to up our game too to make up for losing ‘Langers’ (Danny Langtree).

“He’s a great lad who deserves his chance in Super League but we’ve a lot to do to compensate for losing him.”

Like most of the players who were in last season’s squad, including Langtree, Wilkinson will be at Friday’s Awards Night at the Vestacare Stadium.

Tickets priced £12.50, including hot supper, can be bought online via the Roughyeds online store or by cash or cheque at the club’s office inside the ground between 10am and 3pm Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Season tickets are also available. For telephone inquiries ring Anne Kearns on 07811 988 426.

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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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