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‘Aim is now four from four’ — skipper Owen

OLDHAM skipper Gareth Owen has assured fans that Roughyeds are winding up for their biggest game of the season so far when Newcastle Thunder come to the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday.

They’ve won seven in a row to thunder up the Betfred League 1 table to second on 23 points — three behind leaders Whitehaven but with a game in hand and one more than Roughyeds, who are snapping at their heels in third.

A win will take Scott Naylor’s men to second; and if they can make it four wins from four they will be guaranteed to finish second with the massive advantages that gives them in the play-offs.

Thunder, who have invested hugely in an all-out promotion push this year, say they can’t over-estimate what a win on Sunday would mean to the club and to the sport as a whole in the North-East.

A huge game is in prospect — and nobody knows that more than Owen and his Oldham players.

He said:

“We set out to do five from five. We’ve ticked off Skolars and now it’s four from four.

“It’s must-win; do or die; call it what you want. We know and Newcastle know how much is riding on this game.

“You can drive yourself daft thinking of where you might finish and weighing up all the permutations and possibilities.

“We’ve talked about it in the squad and we’re not even thinking about that. All our focus in the next few weeks will be on the next game.

“This week we’re focused on Newcastle, nothing else. We won’t start thinking about the other three until this one is out of the way.

“We’ll stick to that principle and see where it takes us. We can’t do any more than that. We’re aiming for four from four, but thinking of one at a time if that makes sense.

“Thunder will be coming down here wanting desperately to win, but they’ll find we’re in the same mood. We felt we should have beaten them up at their place. It’s going to be an absolute cracker.”

Roughyeds expect their biggest crowd of the season, topping the 765 who turned up for the Workington game on the first day of the season back in February.

Added Owen:

“If there was ever a game when we needed every rugby league fan in Oldham to come and get behind us vocally this is it.

“Thunder will be coming with players like Kieran Gill and new signing QLT, who will be playing at half-back, and Oldham fans can be our extra man.”

Centre Gill, who has had two spells at Oldham on loan from Castleford Tigers, scored four tries for Thunder in last week’s big win at West Wales Raiders.

QLT (Quentin Laulu-Togagae) is another who needs no introduction.

Coached by Simon Finnigan and under the direction of Denis Betts, the Thunder squad is full of talent, but far from invincible.

They are due for a fall . . . and Roughyeds believe they have the men to give them a push.

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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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