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Club Captain Owen Signs New Deal

WE are delighted to announce that long-serving club captain Gareth Owen has signed a new one-year contract, at the end of which he will have been at his home-town club for seven and a half seasons, five of them as captain.

Having joined us from Salford Red Devils, where he had played 38 Super League games, ‘Gaz’ Owen wore Roughyeds colours for the first time in a 24-23 home win against Hunslet on July 27, 2014.

Of the players on duty that day only Phil Joy, Owen himself and Danny Langtree were still at the club for this curtailed 2020 campaign.

Team: Nield; Agoro, Cookson, Ford, Clay; Roper, Palfrey; Joy, Owen, Boults, Crowley, Langtree, Thompson. Subs: Robinson, Ward, Wood, Tyson.

Apart from a period when he suffered a freak foot injury, Gaz has been more or less an automatic choice at hooker for all the time he has been at the club, making a total of 137 appearances and scoring 16 tries.

In his first season at Oldham he was in the side that lost 17-16 to Hunslet in the 2014 Grand Final at Headingley after a golden-point extra-time drop goal by Thomas Coyle. A lot of hearts were broken that day.

A year later though he was in the side that won the first of his two promotions, either side of the 2017 relegation when the side was ravaged by injury, including Owen’s mysterious foot complaint – the only time in his career that he has been side-lined for any length of time.

When he was offered a new contract to cover the 2021 season there was never any doubt, he said, that he would again sign on the dotted line.

He added:

"I'm buzzing. So long as the decision was mine, I wasn't going anywhere. I only want to play for Oldham.

“It’s been a terrible year — no rugby — and, like the other lads, I can’t wait to get going again. I’ve been working through the pandemic but with no training and no games, I’ve had lots of time on my hands and I’ve been playing loads of golf and doing a bit of cycling to try to keep in reasonable condition.

“We look to be getting a good squad together and we seem to be investing in a big, mobile pack which will help Wilky (Matthew Wilkinson) and me and hopefully set the platform for the backs to do the rest."

Head coach Matt Diskin, himself a hooker in his playing days, said of Owen:

"He's captain of the club and very important to the squad and to the team,

“He’s genuinely passionate about the club, the team and the town and when a local lad cares like that and also has the experience and the ability that Gaz has, then he is naturally a very important member of the team and the club.

“We are delighted to have him on board again."

Roughyeds have now announced the names of nine players who are contracted for 2021 — new boys Tyler Dupree, Luke Nelmes and Tommy Brierley, plus Lewis Charnock and Matthew Fletcher who are on two-year deals, plus Danny Langtree, Matty Wilkinson, Dave Hewitt and Owen who have agreed new deals.

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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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