THERE was plenty of Cup cheer at the Vestacare Stadium when Oldham players learned during training that the club was drawn at home in two cup competitions.
Roughyeds were first out of the hat in the fourth round of the Coral Challenge Cup and the first round of the new 1895 Cup.
“We couldn’t ask for much more,”
was the first reaction of club chairman Chris Hamilton.
Championship side Widnes Vikings come to Oldham in the Challenge Cup on the weekend of March 30 and 31.
Whitehaven are here in the 1895 Cup on the weekend of May 4 and 5.
Chris was at Odsal last night (Tuesday) to represent the club at the Challenge Cup draw in which the Oldham v Widnes tie was the last of the 12 to be drawn.
“You never go to these occasions with thoughts of who you want because it never works out that way. You get what you get. It is what it is.
“Despite their recent problems Widnes are still a relatively big club. It’s only last season that they were in Super League. And they still have a big fan base, as was evident when supporters they rallied round during the club’s recent troubles.”
In their last home game, the first since they were saved from liquidation, they beat Featherstone Rovers 44-22 in front of a crowd of 5,782.
Of the home tie against Whitehaven in the 1895 Cup, Chris said:
“There were some teams in this one that, for various reasons, we didn’t fancy playing away so we were really pleased to be out of the hat first.
“We’ve already beaten them at the Vestacare Stadium in the league this season, but that will make them determined to balance things up and they will be very dangerous opponents.”
Head coach Scott Naylor said both ties would provide his squad with tough tests.
Of the Vikings he said:
“In a draw which doesn’t involve Super League teams they’re in the top bracket, definitely one of the top teams to play.
“Hopefully, it will attract a lot of fans and it will prove a good day for both clubs.
“The Challenge Cup has been good to us in recent years and we’ll have to show once again that we can live with the big boys on our day.”
Roughyeds beat Whitehaven 36-12 at the Vestacare Stadium last month, but at 22-12 they twice got over the home line only to have tries disallowed.
“The score didn’t reflect the game. After an hour it was in the balance but we got a little bit of luck and then moved away.
“But we are at home and they are faced by a long journey so they are things in our favour. It will give us confidence to know we’ve beaten them already this season but, equally, it will make them all the more determined to level things up.
“We could have had much easier teams than Whitehaven that’s for sure. We’ll have to be on our game to go through to the next round, but it’s one we’ll be expected to win.”
Coral Challenge Cup, fourth round: Keighley Cougars v Bradford Bulls; Whitehaven v Rochdale Hornets; Featherstone Lions v Doncaster; Barrow Raiders v York City Knights; Hunslet v Halifax; Featherstone Rovers v Swinton Lions; Sheffield Eagles v Leigh Centurions; Dewsbury Rams v West Hull; Workington or Siddal v Newcastle Thunder; Thatto Heath Crusaders v North Wales Crusaders; Batley Bulldogs v Lock Lane; OLDHAM v Widnes Vikings.
1895 Cup, first round: OLDHAM v Whitehaven; Newcastle Thunder v Keighley Cougars; Hunslet v Workington; Doncaster v West Wales Raiders.