OLDHAM’S defence of the Law Cup against derby rivals Rochdale Hornets will take place at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday, January 20 with a 3pm kick-off.
It will be the first Law Cup showdown in the Roughyeds den since 2011 when a side coached by Kiwi Tony Benson won 34-28, although as recently as 2017 Hornets triumphed at Stalybridge 24-12 to regain the trophy for the first time since they surrendered their hold on it in 2011.
Oldham got it back in January, 2018 with a 28-24 win in a thriller at the Crown Oil Arena.
The stage is now set for another derby cracker in the 16th instalment of the Law Cup story since the reformation of the Oldham club in 1997.
Twelve of those previous 15 games have been at Rochdale with only three played on the Oldham side of Summit Hill.
Since then, honours have been equally shared with Oldham edging it by eight wins to seven.
The latest showdown will be the second of three pre-season warm-up games for Scott Naylor’s men — at Barrow on January 13, at home to Rochdale on January 20 and then Swinton Lions away on January 27.
Said Roughyeds boss Naylor:
“This is a game with our close rivals that doesn’t need bigging up.
“Like all derbies, it’s a massive game for both clubs and both sets of fans and it’s nice that Rochdale are coming to us for a change.
“Their new coach, Carl Forster, is clearly more comfortable at the thought of coming to Oldham for a pre-season game than were some of his predecessors.
“Rochdale are a Championship team. They did well to survive in that division last year and they’ll come to the Vestacare with just as much determination as we’ll have.
“I can’t stress too much the importance of this game for both clubs as we embark on a brand-new season.”
Usual admission prices will apply, namely £14 (adults), £12 (concessions) and £2 (under-16s) to stand and £16 (adults), £14 (concessions) and £5 (under-16s) to sit.
Both teams will feature a significant number of new faces, including Paddy Flynn, Scott Moore and Ellis Gillam for Hornets and Richie Hawkyard, Ben Calland, Jamie Greenwood, Anthony Bowman, Aaron Jones-Bishop, Emmerson Whittel and Scott Law for Roughyeds.
The vital need for fans to purchase season tickets to keep the wolf from the door in the close season was again emphasised at Tuesday’s fans’ forum.
Naylor touched on it when pointing out that squad building was governed by a strict budget and club representatives went further than that in saying that not enough income was currently flowing into the club ― a situation that would need to improve if the club was to move forward.
A match missed for holidays might well cancel out the cash benefits of buying a season ticket but club reps argue it’s a small price to pay for ensuring the club’s survival.
Back the boys; get your season ticket; and be part of your club’s big push to turn things round on the financial front.
The office is open tomorrow (Fri) from 10am to 3pm for season ticket sales, but you can also buy online via the club website or by post to Oldham RLFC, Vestacare Stadium, Whitebank Road, Oldham, OL8 3JH, tel: 07904 898177.