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League 1 a fantastic division — Naylor

​SCOTT Naylor says he genuinely wasn’t surprised by the topsy-turvy results last weekend at the top end of Betfred League 1.

London’s win at Hunslet; North Wales Crusaders’ narrow win at Doncaster; Keighley Cougars’ home win against Workington Town; and the 12-12 draw between Whitehaven and Newcastle at the Recreation Ground each caused a few eyebrows to be raised around the league.

Naylor, who tipped Skolars to cause a few upsets after their 34-4 defeat at the Vestacare Stadium in March, was unmoved.

“To some degree it’s been happening all season,” said the Roughyeds boss. “Nobody is running away with it and on any given day most teams in the division can pick up points. For me, there are no surprises any more in this division.

“It’s going to be like that for the rest of the season because it’s a fantastically competitive division.

“I’m not surprised at how tight it is at the top. And that’s why it is so important that we get some consistency into our game.”

With a third of the league campaign gone, Naylor’s men lie fourth, three points behind leaders Whitehaven, who come to the Vestacare Stadium this Sunday, May 5, in the first round of the new 1895 Cup.

Twenty teams from the Championship and League 1 are involved in this brand-new competition which is designed to give clubs outside Super League a realistic chance of playing at Wembley.

Eight Betfred League 1 clubs go to the starting gate this weekend and the four winners join the 12 Championship clubs (excluding Toronto Wolfpack and Toulouse Olympique) in the second-round draw on Sunday night.

It will be streamed live by Our League and the RFL’s Facebook page from 6pm on Sunday.

The Hunslet v Workington Town first-round tie on Saturday (3pm) will also be streamed live by the RFL’s Our League membership app and also by the Twitch streaming platform.

The final is at Wembley in a double-header with the Coral Challenge Cup final on Saturday, August 24.

Roughyeds are running a club trip to Wembley that day, details to be announced soon.

League 1 leaders Whitehaven come to the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday (3pm) looking to avenge their only league defeat at the same venue back in February.

Said skipper Marc Shackley:

“We didn’t play particularly well that day, but we haven’t been beaten since and it will be nice to go back and prove a point.

“We have some good players but the key to our success has been our close-knit togetherness and our fitness.

“We were really put through it in pre-season, but we are reaping the benefits now.”

Coach Gary Charlton added:

“The best team won at Oldham in the league, no complaints, but I expect to see an improvement this time.

“We’ll go into the cup game to be competitive, but the league has to remain our priority.”

He hopes to have a full squad available, including Andrew Bulman and Ethan Kelly, who have been out injured.

Roughyeds have been given a boost by the news that Gareth Owen and Danny Langtree, who were both sin-binned for punching in a heated battle with Hunslet, will face no further action.

The RFL’s match review panel has ruled sin-bin sufficient in both cases and also in the case of Hunslet’s Mike Emmett.

They also ruled ‘no ban’ for Hunslet prop Dan Hawksworth, who was red-carded for punching.

Roughyeds will be without injured Anthony Bowman and Aaron Jones-Bishop, but otherwise Scott Naylor hopes to have a full squad from which to choose.

“Throw in Lee Kershaw too and we’re three backs down, but the lads who came into the side last week all did very well and put themselves in the shop window for the cup-tie,”

said Naylor.

On-loan Kershaw has been recalled by Wakefield Trinity and is currently playing in their Super League side.

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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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