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Those were the days . . . and memories are made of this !

They came from all over the North-West, from Yorkshire — and even from Australia — for a reunion of The Invincibles, the Oldham Rugby League Club’s ‘A’ team (second team) which was unbeaten in a fantastic 1993-94 season and picked up four trophies along the way.

First-team stars from that era also turned up at a club in Uppermill to join a reunion bash that started at 1.30pm and went on into the night.

It was organised by Invincibles coach and ex-first-team player Shane Tupaea and his wife Karen (Scott), who was club secretary back then — the club’s youngest when appointed at the age of 21.

Shane’s team topped the Youngers Alliance second division with 21 wins and a draw from 22 games, scoring 844 points and conceding only 287.

They also went unbeaten in the Alliance Challenge Cup, the Alliance second division Cup and the Lancashire Shield, picking up four trophies in total.

And the man who lifted those trophies 25 years ago, Aussie captain Ben Olsen, flew all the way from The Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane, to meet up with his old mates and share a few yarns of past times — and former glories.

“They were fantastic times at Oldham — the best of my career,”

said the former London Broncos forward.

Added coach Tupaea:

“We were all mates on and off the field. That was one of the secrets. We’d work hard, get the job done and then go and have a beer.”

The big reunion was attended by team members, others who started their careers in it that season and went on to the first team and some who didn’t play in it but who were there to meet up with old friends, many of whom they hadn’t seen for two decades.

Those present included Aidie Bell, David Bradbury, Craig Booth, David Chrimes, Mickey Edwards, who scored 30 tries in that dazzling Invincibles season, Alfi Gouldborne, Joe Graziano, Martin Holden, David Jones, Paddy Mitchell, Barrie McDermott, Paul Norman, Ben Olsen, Craig Richards, Ian Sherratt, David Stephenson, Geoff Munro, Damian Munro, Paul Round, Mark Meadows, Ian Bates, Richard Pachniuk, Richard Russell, Chris Joynt, Sean Tyrer, Craig Mort, Hugh Gumbs and John Watkins.

Some went on on to become club legends, like Paul Round, or even legends within the sport, like ex-St Helens captain Chris Joynt and Barrie McDermott, who is now famous nationally as a top Sky Sports pundit.

Said Barrie, who went on to star for Wigan, Leeds and Great Britain: “I’ll never forget my early days at Oldham. When I was a kid at Waterhead all I wanted to do was play for my senior home-town club and I made it. Nobody can ever take away the great memories I have of those early days.”

Added Tupaea:

“I’m blown away by the turn-out. What a day ! And what memories !”

In the front row of the picture (left to right) are David Stephenson, Craig Mort, Ian Sherratt, Mickey Edwards.

Seated (left to right): Richard Pachniuk, Barrie McDermott, Ian Bates, Paddy Mitchell, Sean Tyrer, David Bradbury and, far right, David Jones.

Former club secretary Karen Tupaea, who organised the bash with her husband Shane, is third row far left; Shane is back row (left) and captain Ben Olsen back row (fourth left).

See if you can identify the others, most of whom are named in the story.



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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.

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