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Roughyeds Mourn the Loss of Dave Nicholson

THE family has informed us of the sudden passing of Dave Nicholson in the Isle of Man where he had lived for many years. His death at a relatively early age was a massive shock to all who knew him.

Fans will remember Dave as a hard-working second-row forward in two of Oldham’s most successful seasons for many years.

He made 25 appearances in 1981-2, when Frank Myler’s side won the Second Division championship and promotion, plus another ten in 1982-3 when Roughyeds finished eighth in the First Division – their best season since 1960-61.

The deepest condolences of everyone at Oldham RLFC are sent to the family of Dave, who played originally for Blackbrook ARLFC and toured Australia, New Zealand and PNG with the pioneering BARLA open-age international squad before turning pro for Swinton Lions in 1979.

He impressed Swinton coach Myler in his two seasons with the Lions, so much so that when Myler  took charge at Watersheddings ahead of the 1981-2 season and wanted to tighten the defence, he  went back to his former club and signed Nicholson and utility back Alan Taylor in a joint deal worth £20,000.

Both made their debuts in the first game of that season; Taylor on the bench with Bob Mordell and Nicholson in the second-row with Gordon Pollard.

Salford won a first-round Lancashire Cup tie 17-7 at Watersheddings and Oldham lined up like this: Murphy; Ward, Hunter, Parrish, Caffery; Ashton, Kirwan; Alexander, O’Mahoney, Harris, Pollard, Nicholson, Flanagan. Subs: Taylor, Mordell.

It was the start of a brilliant season in which Dave Nicholson played 25 times as Oldham won 30 of their 32 league games to finish top of Division Two, to carry off the Slalom Lager Rose Bowl, to pick up £6,000 in prize money and to lift their first trophy since 1964.

They also reached their first cup semi-final in 17 years, beating Doncaster, Huddersfield and Leeds, all at home, to take on Hull at Headingley, losing 22-6 in the last four of the John Player Trophy.

The team that day: Murphy; O’Neil, Caffery, Parrish, McEwen; Taylor, Kirwan; Alexander, McCurrie, Nicholson, Mordell, Goodway, Flanagan. Subs: Ward, Platt.

Terry Flanagan was already established at loose-forward, but with lots of talented young forwards on the fringe of breaking through, like Mick Worrall, Andy Goodway, Alan Platt, Les Cook and Gareth Owen (son of Leigh’s legendary Stan Owen), Nicholson had been brought in to provide  experience and steel and to do a lot of the graft.

The fact that Roughyeds won promotion that year showed that Myler knew what he was doing and that Dave N not only justified the faith Frank had in him, but did an excellent grafter’s job in helping to get Roughyeds into the top flight where the boss wanted to be in order to blood the classy cubs who were waiting in the wings.

In preparation for the First Division, he also brought in hooker Alan McCurrie from Wakefield for £35,000 and prop Brian Hogan from Widnes for £18,000.

Both played key roles in the top flight in 1982-3 when the huge investment in the youth policy (the colts) began to reap rich dividends. By this time, Nicholson was restricted to ten appearances, but he still contributed significantly to another big campaign in which Myler’s men picked up 15 wins and two draws in a 30-game First Division programme.

They finished eighth – their highest place for years – and ended the campaign on a real high by going to Championship favourites Hull in the first round of the play-off and giving the Airlie Birds a huge scare before going down 24-21.

The Myler years will be long remembered . . . as will the part played by Dave Nicholson in Frank’s  first two seasons.

Rest in peace Dave, and thanks for the memories.

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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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