Oldham RLFC

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RFL hails successful season for Betfred Championship and League 1

The Rugby Football League have hailed a successful season for the Betfred Championship and League 1 competitions, on and off the field, ahead of tonight’s annual awards ceremony in Manchester.

Attendances and viewing figures have increased significantly across both competitions, but especially in the Betfred Championship – and that positive trend has continued in the Play-Off series, as the battle hots up for promotion to the Betfred Super League in 2020.

Toronto Wolfpack and York City Knights each attracted attendances significantly above their regular season average for last weekend’s Play-Off fixtures against Toulouse Olympique and Featherstone Rovers respectively, and live coverage of both matches on Sky Sports took the cumulative viewing figures for Championship matches this season past 1.3m – with three of the top five viewing figures for the season coming in the last two weeks.

Toronto’s gate of 9,325 for their first versus second clash against Toulouse was the second best in the Wolfpack’s three-season history, as the Canadian club secured home advantage in the Betfred Championship Grand Final on Saturday October 5 – the Million Pound Game – which will also be shown live on Sky Sports.

York concluded another season of impressive progress following their promotion from Betfred League 1 in 2018 with an attendance of 3,222 at Bootham Crescent, helped by a four-figure following from Featherstone – who now travel to Toulouse in Sunday night’s final eliminator with the winners to provide the opposition to Toronto in the Million Pound Game at Lamport Stadium on Saturday week.

The aggregate Betfred Championship attendance for the season is now 474,735, including play-offs. The aggregate figure at the end of the regular season was 455,439 -a 79% increase on the 2018 total – and although that came from significantly more fixtures (189 compared to 138), the average match attendance was up by 31%, at 2,489 compared to 1,899. Twelve of the 14 clubs recorded increases in their average home attendance.

The combined attendance for Betfred Championship and League 1 has also increased by 9.9%, from 500,078 in 2018 to 549,495 this season.

Ralph Rimmer, the RFL’s Chief Executive, said: “The Betfred Championship and League 1 Awards Night is an opportunity to celebrate what has been a season of significant progress, on and off the field.

“Bradford Bulls and Halifax showed the quality of Rugby League at Betfred Championship level by beating Super League opposition in the Coral Challenge Cup, and then combining to produce a memorable quarter final, with Halifax winning that game and going on to win more admirers with their performance against St Helens in the semi final.

“We’ve also seen Sheffield Eagles returning to Wembley to beat Widnes Vikings in the inaugural AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final, and we shouldn’t forget the performances of League 1 clubs in both knockout competitions, notably Doncaster who reached the last 16 of the Challenge Cup and the quarter finals of the 1895 Cup.

“The significant increases in attendances, especially in the Betfred Championship, underline the loyal support our clubs continue to receive from the communities in which they are so important, and the growing appeal of the competition.

“It’s been especially pleasing this season to have so many more matches at this level televised by Sky Sports, and the viewing figures have been encouraging, especially for Sunday night fixtures whether at the Summer Bash in the spring, or for the Play-Offs at Leigh and Toronto in the last couple of weeks.

“We’ve also continued to invest significantly in broadcasting fixtures ourselves on the RFL’s Our League platform, with our membership figures now approaching 120,000, in addition to exploring the opportunities offered by new platforms such as Twitch to reach a new, younger audience.

“We have two more exciting rounds of the Play-Offs in each competition over the next two weekends, with Newcastle Thunder, Doncaster and Oldham battling to join Whitehaven in earning promotion from League 1 to the Championship, and Toulouse facing Featherstone this Sunday night for the right to go to Toronto in the Betfred Championship Grand Final. We’ll have plenty to celebrate at the Awards Night, but also much more to anticipate.”


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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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