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Gaz Owen keeps the captaincy

MOORSIDE-BORN Gareth Owen will continue to captain OLDHAM RLFC under the tutelage of new head coach Matt Diskin.

Hooker Owen (27), who never misses an opportunity to say how proud he is to skipper his home-town club, will be captain for the fourth season in a row when newly-promoted Roughyeds start their Championship campaign against Widnes Vikings at Bower Fold on Sunday, February 2.

It was an obvious choice,” said Diskin, who spent nearly a decade as a hooker — a job that demands key, tactical decision-making — in a classy Leeds Rhinos side.

In his two months in charge of pre-season training, Diskin has learned a lot about his players and he is in no doubt about Owen’s qualities as a player and as a man and about his credentials for the responsibility of on-field leader.

Said the Roughyeds’ new team boss:

“In the time I’ve spent with the group I’ve seen not only his leadership skills, but also the huge respect in which he is held by the other lads.

“He’s chuffed to keep the job and I know how much it means to him.”

Owen, who still lives in Moorside, succeeded Lewis Palfrey as captain when Palfrey transferred to Rochdale Hornets after leading Roughyeds to promotion in 2015 and then overseeing their first season in the Championship in 2016.

Owen’s first season as skipper, 2017, was a difficult one for him and for the club.

Scott Leatherbarrow came in to replace the influential Palfrey at outside-half, but both Leatherbarrow and Owen had big shoes to fill at a much higher level than in the previous season.

To make things even more difficult, the squad was ravaged by injury after a reasonable start in the first two months.

Owen himself suffered a freak foot injury in a rearranged 20-16 midweek defeat by Dewsbury at Bower Fold on June 21 and he didn’t play again all season.

In the same match, full-back Scott Turner suffered the last of several concussion injuries and after much soul-searching he took the decision to hang up his boots.
Danny Langtree also suffered a knock that kept him out for several weeks.

In total Roughyeds used 39 players over the 32-match season and players like Owen (11 starts plus seven on the bench), Turner (14 appearances), Richard Lepori (15), Langtree (23), Liam Thompson (20) and George Tyson (22) were all hit by serious setbacks.

Relegation inevitably followed and although it was a bitter disappointment for Owen in his first year as captain, he learned a lot.

He has since grown into the captaincy and was thrilled to lead Roughyeds up to the Championship again after two seasons back down in League 1.

At the higher level he will be determined to put the record straight after what happened in 2017 and Diskin is sure he’s the man to lead from the front.

He hasn’t yet appointed a vice-captain.

“There are a few leaders in the squad , but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,”

said Diskin.

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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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