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“Defence will be key” — Horne

​BETFRED League 1’s second-best attack goes head to head with the division’s second-best defence when Oldham entertain Doncaster at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday (2pm) for the right to go straight through to the promotion Grand Final.

Only third-placed Newcastle Thunder (741) scored more points than Oldham’s 655 in the 20-match regular season.

Champions Whitehaven, who go up automatically, conceded fewer points than anyone else (283), but Doncaster came next with 309.

Oddly, Doncaster beat Roughyeds 31-0 at the Keepmoat in June, while Scott Naylor’s men replied with a 40-14 win at the Vestacare last month.

“Embarrassing”

was Naylor’s description of his side’s hammering in South Yorkshire.

“I’ve never questioned the boys’ attitude before, but it wasn’t there today,”

said Donny boss Richard Horne, summing up the heavy defeat in Oldham.

Since those two dark days for the away teams , both have come good.

Roughyeds have won nine of their last ten on a charge that carried them to runners-up spot in the final league table.

Donny have also been in striking form, scoring 30 points at Workington on the final day of the league campaign, followed by 20 at Newcastle Thunder in their first play-off clash.

Just as crucially, they restricted their opponents to one try apiece — Caine Barnes for Workington in the 76th minute and Alex Clegg for Thunder in the 78th.

Said Horne:

“We are basing our game on how good our defence is and we are scoring points off the back of that.

“We had to manage the ruck tempo at Newcastle otherwise they would have been hard to stop because they had so much speed.”

They failed to boss the rucks the last time they played at Oldham and it was largely due to the domination of the game by the home side’s “middles” that Gareth Owen and Matty Wilkinson were able to leap out of dummy half and cause so much destruction.

Whether they can do it again remains to be seen.

It also remains to be seen which coach is the more fortunate in terms of player availability.

Roughyeds are keeping fingers crossed that centre Cameron Leeming (hamstring) and winger Declan Kay (concussion) will be ready in time.

Vibes coming out of the Donny camp suggest they may have one or two problems.

Key man Batty Beharrell twice had running repairs to a knee problem while masterminding the win at Newcastle and Horne has since said: “This is a huge week for us. We will see where we are at with bodies, but we will prepare exactly the same.

“We will look to adopt a game plan which gives us the best chance of going to Oldham and getting the right result.”



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AS lockdown restrictions start to ease, now is the time for everyone connected with Oldham RLFC to do all they can to help with getting income from our Club Cash lottery back to where it was before the pandemic started to bite.

This is vital for the club and its finances which, as you all know, have taken a massive hit in the past 12 months.

Collectors will be returning to door-to-door visits in the next few weeks and we hope people who suspended payments will pick up where they left off as we strive and work hard to get back to where we were before the pandemic caused us to lose 50 per cent of our lottery income.

Many of our regular punters, who would normally pay a collector, have answered our calls for help by finding other ways to pay and to retain their chances of winning prizes.

To those people we are very grateful and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them once again for their loyal and continued support.

The lottery, of course, is potentially one of our biggest fund-raisers and for as little as £1 a week — more if you wish — you can help the club immensely and at the same time have chances to win £1,000, £100, £50, £25 or one of ten consolation prizes of £10.

That’s the present prize structure. There’s every chance it will be increased once we are out of lockdown, door-to-door collections start again and we get back to some sort of normality.

In the meantime you can join, or start up again, by contacting the club on 07904 898177 or by email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

For more information about the lottery, and for the “great opportunities” provided by our partnership with the National Youth and Community Development Association (NYCDA) go our Club Cash page.

There, you will find all the results and a detailed statement about getting back to normal with the help of our not-for-profit partners.

All proceeds from the partnership will continue to support the club and help us to meet the aims of our Club Cash activities, particularly in its aims and objectives to be an active stakeholder in the local community.

Download Application Form

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