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Oldham hook Wilky for another year

LIVEWIRE hooker Matty Wilkinson has signed his fifth contract at Oldham to extend his commitment to Roughyeds to November 30, 2021.

Now aged 24, the former Salford Red Devils dummy-half has signed a one-year deal, much to the delight of head coach Matt Diskin, who knows a thing or two about Wilky’s role from his own playing days with Leeds and Bradford, and his assistant Brendan Sheridan.

Said Diskin:

“Matty has loads of potential and this is a really good re-signing for us.

“One of our priorities for 2021 is to bolster-up and toughen-up the middles and that should benefit Matty a lot. He will have more in front of him next season and he should relish playing behind a heavier and a more robust middles unit.”

The game has changed significantly since the days when Diskin was one of the top hookers at the highest level, but the fundamentals of being the first man to get his hands on the ball after every tackle remain unchanged.

Said Wilkinson:

“On a personal note, Disco can show me lots of different things because my role used to be his role and there’s nothing he doesn’t know about the dummy-half job.

“As far as squad-building goes we have a lot more time for recruitment this year and I’m sure that by the time everyone is on board we’ll have a squad than can put in a real good dig.

“We struggled in our first few Championship games earlier this year, but it was always going to be tough in our first few games. It’s a big step-up to Championship rugby from League One.

“I’m sure we will be better equipped for it next time and we will have had a lot more time as well with Disco. That’s got to make a big difference.

“I can’t wait to get back into it. Apart from the lack of team training and games at the weekend, Lockdown for me hasn’t been all that different to normal. I work on the railways and we were regarded as key workers so it was business as usual. I haven’t had a day off since it all started.

“Like all the other lads though I’ve really missed rugby and getting together two or three times a week. That’s a part of our lives and most of us haven’t known anything different for years, apart from the off-season.

“It seems a lot nearer now we are starting signing players again and we certainly seem to be on our way to getting a good squad, first with ‘Langers’ signing again and then Nelmsey. How good was that? I’ve kept in contact with him and it’s great that he’s coming back.

“He’s had a few problems but he’s over them now and it will be good to get him back and to see him getting us on the front foot up the middle.

“He’s a good lad and a good player.”

Wilkinson, a Leigh lad, started with Centurions as a boy but moved to Salford when he was 17 and soon became a full-time pro. He had spells on dual-reg with Halifax and North Wales Crusaders before moving to Oldham at the end of June in 2017 on a contract to November 30 that year.

Roughyeds had to move smartly to get his signature ahead of Halifax, but he quickly settled at the club — as do most of our new boys — and he has now scored 21 tries in 60 games after making his debut in a 14-12 home win over Toulouse Olympique on July 2, 2017.

In his two League One seasons of 2018 and 2019 he scored 19 tries in 45 games, most of them when coming off the bench as hooker replacement for club captain Gareth Owen.

Another member of the existing squad who has signed a new one-year deal will be announced tomorrow evening.

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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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