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Hawkyard hangs up his boots

​A fascinating insight into Ritchie Hawkyard’s personal battle against injuries in Oldham’s promotion campaign last season has emerged since the fans-favourite full-back did a U-turn on his future and decided to hang up his boots.

After picking up the coach’s player-of-the-year award and the players’ player-of-the-year award — a magnificent double — Hawkyard (33) left Roughyeds to re-sign for his former club, Keighley Cougars, saying that he could manage one last season in League 1 but not in the Championship.

However, he has since decided to call it a day and to drop the curtain on a long career in which he enjoyed nine years at Swinton Lions.

He then moved to Keighley and on to Oldham, where he fulfilled an ambition to spend at least one season with the club that his uncle, Colin Hawkyard, served so magnificently in the 1980s.

Concerned about the physical demands of the Championship, he left Oldham to go back to Keighley where he signed a new one-year deal.

He has since told Keighley that he won’t be playing for anybody in 2020 after realising that he must be ruled by his head, not his heart.

In explaining his decision, he said that even last season, while playing a star role in Oldham’s promotion-winning side, there were weeks when he couldn’t train but he still had the backing and support of the then coach Scott Naylor.

Said Hawkyard:

“I was thinking of quitting half-way through last season.

“My body couldn’t do what I wanted it to do any more and it was taking me so much longer to get over little knocks and niggles.

“There was a time when I’d play on a Sunday, feel sore on the Monday but be okay again by the Tuesday or Wednesday night.

“But last season it was taking me to Thursday to feel right again and there were times when I couldn’t train either Tuesday or Thursday and I started asking myself if it was worth it.

“Scott (Naylor) said he still needed me on board and as long as I could still do it in games I could rest through training.

“When we won the league I knew there was no way I could play in the Championship. I had always wanted to go back to Keighley , but I told them when I signed that I needed a couple of months to get my head and body right and that I would be ready to start pre-season at the back end of December. The club was fine with that.

“I used those two months off to spend time with my family and that put into perspective what I have missed over the last few years.

“Just being able to go and watch my daughter’s dance classes and taking my little lad to the park, or to look at the Christmas lights, are things I’ve not been around to do much in the last few years.

“I wasn’t missing rugby and the pros of retiring outweighed the cons. When it was time for me to go to Keighley for training my heart was telling me to carry on, but my head said it was time to finish.

“It was a hard decision and it was tough telling the guys at Keighley, but I know it was the right time.”

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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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