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Third Time Lucky for Oldham

OLDHAM will be hoping it’s third time lucky when they go to Heywood Road, Sale, on Sunday (12.30pm) for a behind-closed-doors Betfred Challenge Cup second round tie against Swinton Lions.

They haven’t played at this South Manchester venue since 2017 when both teams were in the Championship.

Oldham won 22-18 at home early in the season, but with injuries biting hard they lost 26-4 at Heywood Road in mid-summer and then suffered a 29-6 mauling at the same venue in the Championship Shield on September 10.

Although Roughyeds had still to play Dewsbury, that 29-6 hammering effectively kept Swinton up while condemning Oldham to relegation. After the final hooter, the sight of a heartbroken Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton, sitting alone in the main stand and staring blankly into space, is still etched clearly in the memories of many fans.

One of them, Sean Whitehead, a former director colleague who knew more than most what the chairman was going through, went across to console him.

Since then there have been many happier times for the Oldham chief, none better than the Promotion Final win against Newcastle Thunder at the Vestacare Stadium, two years after that dark day at Heywood Road when the Lions roared and the Roughyeds whimpered.

In the autumn of 2019, it was Oldham’s turn to end the season in glory. The chairman was recovering from knee surgery but was in the stand for the big game. As victory was secured after a thriller, every Oldham player climbed up into the stand to shake the chairman’s hand and to wish him well.

Since then both squads have changed beyond recognition, as has the Swinton management.

Oldham, though, will still feel they owe the Lions big style after what happened in 2017 and the one thing they won’t want is for Lions winger Richard Lepori, man of the match in his side’s first-round win against Newcastle, to hit the headlines again.

There was a time when the Italian international was strutting his stuff for Oldham, either at full-back or on the wing. He was a firm favourite of the Oldham crowd and by all accounts he’s doing well at Heywood Road too.

Last week he made many clearing runs, safely cleaned up high balls and made numerous crucial tackles.

The Lions forwards, not as big as Oldham’s pack, also worked hard, but new stand-off Martyn Ridyard is the big threat and if Roughyeds can put him under pressure and let him know he’s in a cup tie they’ll be half way to celebrating a significant win.

There’s a twin prize for the winners — a third round appearance in the Challenge Cup and a semi-final spot in the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup.

+ The tie will be broadcast by the BBC on iPlayer, the Red Button and BBC Sport digital platforms.



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AS lockdown restrictions start to ease, now is the time for everyone connected with Oldham RLFC to do all they can to help with getting income from our Club Cash lottery back to where it was before the pandemic started to bite.

This is vital for the club and its finances which, as you all know, have taken a massive hit in the past 12 months.

Collectors will be returning to door-to-door visits in the next few weeks and we hope people who suspended payments will pick up where they left off as we strive and work hard to get back to where we were before the pandemic caused us to lose 50 per cent of our lottery income.

Many of our regular punters, who would normally pay a collector, have answered our calls for help by finding other ways to pay and to retain their chances of winning prizes.

To those people we are very grateful and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them once again for their loyal and continued support.

The lottery, of course, is potentially one of our biggest fund-raisers and for as little as £1 a week — more if you wish — you can help the club immensely and at the same time have chances to win £1,000, £100, £50, £25 or one of ten consolation prizes of £10.

That’s the present prize structure. There’s every chance it will be increased once we are out of lockdown, door-to-door collections start again and we get back to some sort of normality.

In the meantime you can join, or start up again, by contacting the club on 07904 898177 or by email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

For more information about the lottery, and for the “great opportunities” provided by our partnership with the National Youth and Community Development Association (NYCDA) go our Club Cash page.

There, you will find all the results and a detailed statement about getting back to normal with the help of our not-for-profit partners.

All proceeds from the partnership will continue to support the club and help us to meet the aims of our Club Cash activities, particularly in its aims and objectives to be an active stakeholder in the local community.

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