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Record viewing figures for our Play-Off final

THE Betfred League 1 play-off final at Oldham generated record viewing figures for a League 1 game on Our League this season and was the fourth best overall.

Nearly 6,000 watched Roughyeds beat Newcastle Thunder in a classic on Our League and a further 37,500 was the combined figure on Twitch for the Oldham game and the Betfred £1M match in Toronto.

Moreover, the attendance of 1,204 was the biggest this season at the Vestacare Stadium and the fifth best in League 1 all year.

The Toronto game generated record viewing figures for Championship games on Sky Sports this season with an average match audience of more than 143,000 which peaked at more than 245,000.

An RFL spokesman said:

“These figures show the benefit of getting our major games on to Sky Sports Main Event and the challenge we face in having games played on a Saturday evening when they clash with programmes like Strictly.”

Newly-promoted Oldham, who have since appointed Matt Diskin as head coach on a two-year contract, have been receiving congratulatory messages from home and abroad.

One, from Australia, was sent by former Roughyeds forward Mal Graham, who had two spells at the club in the mid-1980s.

He arrived here with his fellow Aussie Gary Warnecke ahead of the 85-86 season.

The highlight of his first season was a second-row appearance alongside Mick Worrall in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Castleford at Central Park, Wigan.

He transferred to Bradford Bulls for the following year but returned to Oldham in 87-88 as assistant player-coach on a panel headed by Eric Fitzsimons and also featuring Iain MacCorquodale.

Graham made an ever-present 38 appearances that year — 65 games, 37 tries overall — as Oldham won the Second Division title, the Second Division premiership and reached the John Player Trophy semi-final.

Highlight was the Premiership final at Old Trafford where Graham was in the second-row with Colin Hawkyard as Roughyeds snatched a thriller against Featherstone Rovers, 28-26.

It was good to hear from Mal and to know that news of our big move up in the world had spread quickly to the southern hemisphere.

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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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