SWINTON’S 28-16 win against Newcastle Thunder means Roughyeds clash with the Lions at Heywood Road, Sale in the second round of the Betfred Challenge Cup this coming weekend and then meet them again at Bower Fold a few days later, on Good Friday, April 2, in the opening game of the 2021 Betfred Championship season.
That’s two derby days in less than a week against our old friends from Swinton, and both streamed on Our League, a mouth-watering prospect for supporters of both clubs.
The league game at Bower Fold on Good Friday kicks-off at 5.15pm to fit in with Our League streaming schedules, but at the time of writing we are still awaiting instructions from the RFL about specific details for next week-end’s cup tie in South Manchester.
First round: Sheffield Eagles 6, York City Knights 30; OLDHAM 20, Barrow Raiders 6; London Broncos 24, Keighley Cougars 10; Whitehaven 23, Dewsbury Rams 16; Halifax Panthers 6, Batley Bulldogs 19; West Wales Raiders 4, Widnes Vikings 58; Featherstone 41, Bradford Bulls 16; Swinton Lions 28, Newcastle Thunder 16.
The second-round line-up is Swinton Lions v OLDHAM; Featherstone Rovers v Batley Bulldogs; London Broncos v York City Knights; Widnes Vikings v Whitehaven.
Super League clubs enter the competition in round three, but the real significance of a third-round appearance for Championship clubs is that they are automatically in the semi-final of the 1895 Cup and thus only 80 minutes from Wembley.
“Both Swinton and ourselves are only two games from Wembley so that’s a massive incentive. The winners at Heywood Road next week only need a bit of luck in the semi-final draw and what might happen then is mind-boggling,”
said Oldham captain Gareth Owen.
“It’s going to be a really tough tie and it should be a cracker. I’m really looking forward to it and I know the other lads will be too. “Both teams will look at the other and think ‘this is the sort of side we want to be beating in the Championship’ so to have two meetings within a few days so early in the season is very interesting.”
The hooker had a fine game in the hard-fought first-round win against Barrow and, in two spells, was on the field for 70 of the 80 minutes. Normally replaced after half an hour or so, he was on the field this time for nearly an hour. Then, within ten minutes of giving way to Declan Gregory, Dec received a head knock so it was time for Owen to go on again and see out the game.
“I’m not used to being on so long these days, but I loved every minute of it.
“I was blowing a bit coming up to half-time and again just before I was called in midway through the second half, but I got through okay and it was good to know I had done it.”
Of the game itself, he said:
“It was largely played through the middle because they (Barrow) wanted to make it into a bit of a dogfight At the end of the day, though, we got the win and played some good rugby.
“Dec and Martyn Reilly got bumps to the head, but I’m not expecting any major worries by week-end.”