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Beckett back with a mission

JIMMY Beckett is back with a mission . . . to play a lead role in seeing Oldham continuing their upward march following the promotion in which he was so heavily involved in the later stages of last season.

The young on-loan prop from Featherstone Rovers, who celebrated his 20th birthday while he was here last year, wore the Roughyeds shirt in six of the last seven games and became a club hero when he scored the promotion-winning try against Newcastle Thunder in the play-off final.

“I’ll never forget that,” said Beckett, who is back on a season-long loan with a recall clause which kicks in after 28 days. “It’s good to be back, especially after all we achieved last year. There are a lot of familiar faces still here even though some of the lads from last year have gone.

“On a personal note I had a good year in 2019, starting off in Academy rugby and ending the season by scoring in a senior Promotion Final.”

Beckett, who played in two of Featherstone’s pre-season games against York City Knights and Leeds Rhinos, is in contention for Oldham’s opening Betfred Championship game against Widnes Vikings at Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm).

His thoughts on the season ahead ?

“I think we’ll go okay. We’ll be underdogs in a lot of games with nothing to lose and that should give us the motivation to prove people wrong..”

It all starts at Bower Fold on Sunday when two clubs which have seen huge changes in the close season go head to head with new coaches, Matt Diskin (Oldham) and Tim Sheens (Widnes), both of whom are known to be what some people will describe as “offensive” coaches which puts them in a minority in the modern game.

It has been well documented that Diskin will demand far more than five drives and a kick.

What of Widnes, under the command of one of the highest-profile international coaches in the British game?

New skipper Jack Owens has said:

“All coaches put their own stamp on things and in Tim’s case pre-season has been a lot more fun with a lot more emphasis on ball work. We’ve done a lot of work on that.”

Looking ahead specifically to Sunday’s game at Bower Fold, he said: “We beat Oldham convincingly in the Challenge Cup last year, but they’re a different side now and we can’t afford to take them lightly.

“We’ve done video work on them and they’re going to be a threat.

“We’ve won each of our three pre-season games but they were games we should have won so we’re certainly not bragging yet. The real test will be at Oldham, If we all do our jobs individually we’ll come away with a win.

“We aim to make the top five, but I think the competition is going to be even tougher than last year.

“The likes of Oldham will be tough and then there’s going up to Whitehaven.

“We’ve become used to playing in front of the black and white army on away grounds and Sunday will be no different. Tickets are going well.”

So well, in fact, that Vikings have decided to open their shop today (Sat) and they say it’s to ease the demand at their stall in Widnes Indoor Market.
They’ve also announced a dual-reg partnership with Warrington Wolves.

Vikings will be without Jay Chapelhow (ankle) and MacGraff Leuluai (hip) but they’ve still got a strong 21-man squad which provides potential debuts for Kenny Baker, Liam Cooper, Deon Cross, Connor Dwyer, Lewis Hulme and Pat Moran with second debuts for Shane Grady, Jack Johnson, Matty Smith and Logan Tomkins.

Squad: Baker, T Chapelhow, Cooper, Craven, Cross, Dugdale, Dwyer, Edge, Farnworth, Grady, Hulme, Johnson, Lyons, Moran, O’Neill, Owens, Roby, Smith, Spedding, Tomkins, Wilde.

Roughyeds fans are advised to get to the ground in plenty of time to ease congestion at the turnstiles.

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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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