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Speakman looks set for Widnes return

WIDNES Vikings head coach Kieron Purtill has named a strong squad for Sunday’s fourth-round Coral Challenge Cup tie at Bower Fold (3pm) which includes hooker Dominic Speakman, who has recently returned to the club after spells with St Helens, Barrow and Dewsbury.

He is in line to play his first game for the Vikings this season, having been re-signed post takeover to replace Liam Hood, who has gone to Leigh Centurions.

Purtill’s 19-man squad is made up of 16 of the 17 who beat Rochdale 50-4 at the Crown Oil Arena last Sunday (attendance 1,732) plus Speakman, Owen Farnworth and Sam Freeman.

With no Anthony Gelling, who is back home Down Under for two weeks for family reasons, Harrison Hansen, Hep Cahill and McGraff Leuluai are the ‘big’ names, but most members of the squad are local lads of real quality with heaps of rep honours at schoolboy and academy levels.

Squad: Keanan Brand, Owen Buckley, Hep Cahill, Jay Chapelhow, Ted Chapelhow, Danny Craven, Chris Dean, Owen Farnworth, Sam Freeeman, Harrison Hansen, Ryan Ince, Jordan Johnstone, McGraff Leuluai, Joe Lyons, Jack Owens, Lloyd Roby, Dominic Speakman, Brad Walker, Sam Wilde.

The line-up at Rochdale last time out was: Owens; Buckley, Brand, Roby, Ince; Craven, Lyons; Hansen, Johnstone, Cahill, Dean, Wilde, Johnson. Subs: J Chapelhow, T Chapelhow, Leuluai Walker,

Full-back Owens, who made his Vikings debut at 16 and later had spells with St Helens, Sheffield and Leigh, frequently sliced open Rochdale’s defence and won the man-of-the-match award.
Winger Ryan Ince, another local and home-grown in the Vikings youth nursery, scored four tries to prove that he doesn’t have to rely on Gelling’s quality as his centre to get to the line.

He is currently the top try scorer in the Championship, capitalising on his side’s expansive style of rugby which has earned Vikings six wins out of seven games. With 221 points in total they’re averaging more than 30 points a game while conceding, on average, 17.

Said Oldham boss Scott Naylor:

“They’ve been winning consistently week after week, playing a great brand of rugby. The challenge for us is huge, but it’s one we relish and are excited about.”

Normal admission prices apply, namely £14 adults, £12 concessions and £2 under-16s. To have a seat (get there early) it’s £16 adults, £14 concessions, £5 under-16s.

Widnes are bringing a large following — they had more than 1,000 at Rochdale — so we recommend early arrival to ease congestion at the turnstiles.

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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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