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Barrow ready for 'brutal' cup-tie

BARROW Raiders boss Paul Crarey has told his local paper that the League 1 side will be preparing for a ‘brutal’ Betfred Challenge Cup first-round tie against Matt Diskin’s Roughyeds.

In anticipation of early-season games being played behind closed doors, the RFL has confirmed that the tie will be played on Saturday, March 20 at Bower Fold (12.45pm kick-off) and streamed live on Our League, free to season-ticket holders.{ .tarts }

Other fans can take advantage of an Early Bird £4.95-per-game offer, compared with £10 if they pay on the day. The eight first-round ties will be played over Friday night, Saturday and Sunday, all streamed, and also available on pay-to-view are day passes at £15 and weekend passes at £20.

Oldham, like all clubs, will be relying on big viewing figures, given that Covid protocols and behind-closed-doors rugby brings considerable extra costs — with no income through the turnstiles — at a time when they have had no games for a year with little or no income.

Moreover, clubs have to underwrite all broadcasting costs. They take 90 per cent of any profit, but it is still regarded as essential to their financial well-being that the online initiative proves popular with supporters.

Crarey, the Barrow coach, experienced many Oldham v Barrow games during Scott Naylor’s seven years in charge of Roughyeds, followed by one game when he was opposed by Matt Diskin — a pre-season game at Craven Park in January last year.

Oldham won 22-18 on Diskin’s debut as Roughyeds boss with tries by Dan Abram (2), Harry Aaronson and Danny Bridge, plus three Abram goals against one of his former clubs.

Stand-off Lewis Charnock, another ex-Raiders player, had a try disallowed.

Of the 18 players on Oldham duty, six are no longer at the club — Kay, Worthington, Aaronson and Brook in the backs and Igbinedion and Smith in the forwards.

The Barrow boss is getting his boys ready to “slug it out” — and, more than likely, without a warm-up game.

The League 1 season isn’t scheduled to start until May and, as things stand now, Crarey’s plan is to arrange warm-up games then rather than now.

He told the Barrow Mail:

“It is always very physical when you play Oldham. They’ve won so many games like that. We’ve got to be prepared to slug it out. We expect the tie to be brutal.

“They have good players like Dan Abram and Lewis Charnock. They’ve got the strikes, but so have we.

“It will be different with no crowds – a different entity that we are not used to – but we are so looking forward to playing again.

“We don’t look any further than the game that’s right in front of us. The players know me and they know we’ll only focus on Oldham. We won’t be focusing on Swinton or Newcastle.”

Season-ticket holders will receive codes, direct from the club, with which to gain access to the Our League presentation.

Full details regarding Our League for ALL fans, season ticket holders or otherwise, can be found on this website, following the links.

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