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Player of the week — Gareth Owen

GARETH Owen, or ‘Gaz’ as he is popularly known by fans and fellow players alike, was more than happy to tell us all about himself in the build-up to the big game against Workington Town at the Vestacare Stadium this coming Sunday (Feb 17).

Asked for his age he said he was 27, then quickly changed it to 26 (correct !) on the intervention of his fiancee Amy, whom he lives with in Moorside, together with their Golden Retriever, called Jay.

Gaz wasn’t sure, but Amy knew. She knows him better than he knows himself.

An Oldham lad through and through, his Mum and Dad are Karen and Geoff, who live just down the hill from Gaz and Amy and are their son’s biggest fans.

They rarely miss a match home and away and they also support the club via our Club Cash lottery and as frequent supporters of our match-day hospitality facility.

Boyhood hero ? “I don’t think I ever had one,” said Gaz “but if I did it would be my Dad.

He went to Hodge Clough Primary and then to Counthill, the no-longer school on the hill that over the years produced dozens and dozens of rugby league players.

As a school we didn’t do so bad, that’s for sure,” said the lad who’s proud to be from Oldham, proud to play for Roughyeds and even prouder to captain the side.

He first played rugby as a four-year-old at Waterhead and it was there he stayed until he went to Salford Red Devils at the age of 15.

Waterhead is my amateur club; always was and always will be,” remarked Gaz. “It’s a loyalty thing. I’d never play for any other amateur team in town. Not after all they did for me when I was a kid.

He played more than 30 Super League games for Salford and thoroughly enjoyed his days as a full-time pro. When they came to an end, after a short spell at Sheffield on loan, he had the chance to play for Roughyeds and he jumped at it.

He had watched and supported his home-town team, with his Mum and Dad, since he was a kid in short pants.

To play for them was big enough; to be made captain and to lead out the side on to the pitch was a dream come true.

He now combines captaining Roughyeds with his full-time job as an HGV driver.

Hobbies? He plays golf off 8 and he’s an American Football fanatic, watching grid-iron on TV for hours and hours on end. Outside rugby league, it’s his favourite sport.

He watched the recent Super Bowl final into the wee small hours, having previously booked the following day off from work.

I’m a nutter for it. I admit it,” he said. “I think its a terrific sport.

Favourite food ? Amy’s home-cooked Katsu curry, a chicken dish that had its origins in Vietnam.

And he couldn’t resist poking a bit of fun at his Oldham team mates, picking out two of the biggest lads in the team for the subjects of his quips.

His best trainer: Liam Bent. His worst trainer (lol) Danny Bridge. “Make sure you get that in,” he said. “It’ll cause a few laughs !

His best dresser was Jack Spencer. And his worst (lol again) ? Phil Joy.

Prospects for the season ?

Gaz went into ‘serious’ mode. “No two ways about it,” he said. “_The target isn’t just promotion. The target is to finish top and go up automatically.

“We don’t want to be involved in play-offs if we can possibly help it. Let’s get the job done before they even start.”

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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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