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Player Focus — Emmerson Whittel

Our next player focus is on second-row forward Emmerson Whittel.

He got the rugby bug at the age of seven. His dad was a Leeds Rhinos fan and Emmerson supported Bradford Bulls — and when the derby games came around there was a lot of competitive banter between father and son.

Said Emmerson:

“My interest in rugby league was growing all the time and one day I asked my dad to take me training at our local amateur team. That’s how it all began.”

The boy Whittel made rapid progress at Kings Cross Park in Halifax and by the time he was 13 he had been spotted by Bradford scouts, who were keen to take him to Odsal, writes JENNY McGRANE.

It was a dream come true for the young Bulls supporter, who spent several years at Odsal where he would scoop up an under-19s player-of-the-year award and make his Super League debut in a meeting with London Broncos in September, 2014.

A move to nearby Keighley Cougars followed, but he was unlucky there with injury, especially when suffering a broken jaw in a cup tie.

Injuries, plus the financial problems at Cougar Park, led to a situation in which he was again looking for a move.

Ritchie Hawkyard and Scott Law, with whom he had played at Keighley, had already joined Oldham and that was certainly a factor in his decision to move here when Roughyeds showed an interest. The club’s reputation as one which looked after its players and was always there or thereabouts in chasing honours at its own level were also taken into consideration.

“Emmy”, who likes a good holiday, names Leon Pryce as his rugby hero and, nearer to home, he has a lot of time for his team mate Zack McComb. Of Zack, he said:

“He’s got a fantastic hairline. I wish mine was like his.”

Describing himself as ‘very positive’, he said he would want Danny Langtree with him on a desert island.

Why?

Said “Emmy”:

“He’s well known around Oldham . The fans would come to save him and hopefully rescue me at the same time.”

Emmerson’s thoughts on the season so far?

He said:

“It’s been up and down, but we are still well in the running for promotion and i think the team is more than capable of going up.

“I think we’ll be promoted, if not automatically by finishing top then by going through the longer route via the play-offs.”

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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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