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OurLeague comes to the rescue

WITH rugby league fans desperate to watch Challenge Cup and Championship action after a year-long shut-down, Oldham supporters are in for an online treat.

The RFL has confirmed that Roughyeds' first-round Betfred Challenge Cup tie against League 1 side Barrow Raiders will now be played on Saturday, March 20 (12.45pm kick-off) and streamed live on Our League.

Two weeks later, on Good Friday, April 2, Roughyeds will clash with derby rivals Swinton Lions at Bower Fold (5.15pm) on the opening day of the new Betfred Championship campaign,

Both games will be streamed live on Our League, free to home season-ticket holders.

Other fans can take advantage of an Early Bird £4.95-per-game offer, compared with £10 if they pay on the day. Also available, for fans who wish to watch all, or most of the games are Day passes for £15 and Weekend passes for £20.

Oldham, like all clubs, will be relying on big viewing figures, given that 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.

It all kicks off on Friday, March 19 with the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup, Sheffield Eagles v York (7.45pm), played at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster with coverage still to be confirmed.

On the following day, Super Saturday, Oldham v Barrow Raiders (12.45pm) kicks off four back-to-back ties.

All games played behind closed doors in the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup and the opening round of the Betfred Championship will be available to watch either through Betfred or the BBC or through the RFL’s Our League web or app.

Season-ticket holders will receive access codes, direct from the club, ahead of the first fixture.

Betfred Challenge Cup (first round): Friday, March 19, Sheffield Eagles v York City Knights (7.45pm), coverage to be confirmed.

Saturday, March 20, Oldham v Barrow Raiders (12.45pm); London Broncos v Keighley Cougars (3pm); Whitehaven v Dewsbury Rams (5.15pm); Halifax Panthers v Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm); all matches live on Our League.

Sunday, March 21, West Wales Raiders v Widnes Vikings (12.45pm), Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs (3pm);, both streamed live on BBC; Swinton Lions v Newcastle Thunder (5.15pm), both on Our League.

Betfred Championship (round one): Good Friday, April 2, Oldham v Swinton Lions (5.15pm), Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs (7.30pm).

Easter Saturday , April 3, York City Knights v London Olympique (5.15pm); Dewsbury Rams v Whitehaven (7.30pm);

Easter Sunday, April 4, Sheffield Eagles v Batley Bulldogs (12.45pm); Halifax Panthers v London Broncos (3pm); Newcastle Thunder v Widnes Vikings (5.15pm), all seven matches on Our League.

Details for the Challenge Cup second-round ties, on the weekend of March 27 and 28, will obviously be announced later.

Here’s a link to FAQs regarding Our League, membership and access to coverage of games.

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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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