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Oldham Face Tough Challenge

HAVING had a game-free weekend, like most clubs in the Championship and League 1, Oldham hope to see the benefits when they check on injuries this evening (Tues) ahead of Saturday’s league game at Batley Bulldogs (12.45pm)

Several players suffered the usual early-season bumps and knocks in the opening league game against Swinton Lions, a promising 28-20 win in a bruiser on Good Friday, but with 15 days between games and plenty of time for recovery they shouldn’t pose too many worries.

Players with specific injuries. including those who have already missed games, will head the list of priorities for fitness assessment.

These include Luke Nelmes. Phil Joy, Lewis Charnock, Tommy Brierley, James Barran and Kyran Johnson.

Hooker Matty Wilkinson is out for most of the season with a broken leg and both Cam Leeming and Ed Smith have taken early retirement because of injuries, so that effectively leaves coach Matt Diskin with a squad of 27 — still more than the last few years and with cover in every position.

Roughyeds face a tough challenge at Batley, who have twice gone close to pulling off shock wins at Featherstone, in cup and league, and who blitzed Halifax at The Shay in the first round of the Challenge Cup.

They have strengthened considerably this season with the recruitment of four former Super League players in winger Jodie Broughton, centre Kieran Buchanan, half-back Tom Gilmore and utility back Jack Logan. Some pundits are comparing this year’s Batley squad with the one they had in 2016 when they finished third in the regular season behind Leigh and London Broncos.

Under Matt Diskin in 2017, 2018 and 2019 they finished sixth, seventh and tenth respectively . They rarely challenge for honours in the Championship, yet they are usually safe around mid-table long before the start of the relegation battle.

They are a well-established Championship side and one that, initially at least, Roughyeds will aspire to emulate.

It will be the first time the teams have met since Diskin’s departure from the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium and his subsequent appointment as Oldham boss, so he will clearly be out to put one over on his former club.

It was after his first season at Batley that he made a successful approach for Oldham forward Michael Ward, who is still there, still coming off the bench as an impact player, having made 53 Batley appearances, all but five of them off the bench.

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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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