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Horrific start, then plenty of positives

FOR the second game in a row we were 18-0 down after ten minutes.

The big difference between the very poor performance at Widnes in the Coral Challenge Cup and in this 26-12 Betfred Championship defeat by Bradford Bulls at Bower Fold was that, in this one, the players were not intimidated by their early deficit and bounced back to look the stronger side in the second half.

Bulls scored only one more try after that early blitz and their only points in the second half came from a penalty goal by Rowan Milnes.

Indeed, if you conveniently delete the first ten minutes of this hard-fought contest, the score across the remaining 70 minutes was Oldham 12, Bradford 8.

Bulls started like an express train and it appeared that their game plan was to blast the home side wide open as quickly as possible and take the game away from them before they had chance to feel comfortable.

They pinned Oldham in their own half, forced errors and then demonstrated an ability to score from short range against a defence that looked vulnerable and decidedly dodgy in goal-line defence.

in the first few minutes Roughyeds were shell-shocked. They didn’t seem to know what had hit them as first Sam Hallas and then Steve Crossley crashed over on the back of mistakes by Lee Kershaw and Dan Abram.

When Brandon Pickersgill made it three Bradford tries with the contrasting style of nifty footwork, swerve and sidestep — all within ten minutes – we feared the worst.
Joe Cator, on dual reg from Hull, made it 24-0 before half-time, but what a turnaround after that!

Like Bulls in the first half, Oldham were far more threatening when attacking the town end of the ground down the very slight slope and on a pitch that was in remarkably good condition after the recent bad weather.

It was their turn to dominate the arm wrestle now and to keep the Bulls, for the most part, pinned in their own half for long periods.

They were rewarded when livewire Matty Wilkinson, who was starting to cause problems for them, burst away from dummy half and sent in Danny Bridge for the first of his two tries.

Bulls went short from the restart kick, got a penalty and took the two, but Oldham were soon in again when man-of-the-match Bridge followed a Hewitt chip to score his second, 12-26, and that was the last of the scoring.

Roughyeds looked like they might score again when Pickersgill dropped a Lewis Charnock bomb under the posts, but Bradford’s solid defence held fast.

In the last couple of minutes Danny Langtree and Joe Cator were both sin-binned following a skirmish off the ball.

Scorers: Oldham — goals, Abram 2/2; tries Bridge (2); Bulls — goals, Milnes 5/5; tries, Hallas, Crossley, Pickersgill, Cator.

OLDHAM: Abram; Ince, Croft, Leeming, Kershaw; Charnock, Hewitt; Joy, Owen, Beckett, Bridge, Langtree, Spencer. Subs: Wilkinson, Fletcher, Davies, Gwaze.
BRADFORD: Pickersgill; Joe Brown, Evans, Oakes, Dawson; Milnes, Lilley; England, Hallas, Crossley, Waite-Pullan, Gallagher, Cator. Subs: Flanagan, Scurr, Jack Brown, Nzoungou.

Referee: Cameron Worsley; Att: 1,189.
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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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