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Defiant Owen says squad will battle to the end

DESPERATE for a win, Roughyeds play unbeaten league leaders Toulouse Olympique at Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm) and a defiant Gareth Owen says the squad will never give up in its bid to avoid relegation.

“It’s not over until its over,”

said Oldham’s club captain, speaking with five games remaining, including Sunday’s home game against Super League aspirants Toulouse, followed seven days later, also at Bower Fold, by second-placed Featherstone, whose only defeat was at home to the French aces.

Historically, Roughyeds have fared pretty well at home against the Frenchmen.

They’ve only clashed four times — twice at the Stalybridge venue and twice in the beautiful city of Toulouse, with its swanky squares and wide, stylish avenues, in the South of France.

Standing on the River Garonne and less than 100 miles from the Mediterranean, it’s the centre of the European aerospace industry and is France’s fourth largest city behind Paris, Marseille and Lyon.

Roughyeds were smashed there 58-18 and 58-6 in 2017 and in 2020 respectively, but they will take great heart from Olympique’s two visits to Bower Fold in 2017.

In July of that year, Oldham beat them 14-12 in the Championship and some three months later, in the end-of-season Championship Shield, Toulouse scraped home 24-18 with only one converted try separating them.

In those two memorable games, Oldham lined up like this:

In the narrow win: Steven Nield; Adam Clay, George Tyson, Sammy Gee, Kameron Pearce-Paul; Sam Wood, Dave Hewitt; Adam Neal, Kenny Hughes, Daniel Smith, Liam Thompson, Danny Langtree, Luke Adamson. Subs: Ben Davies, Matty Wilkinson, Sadiq Adibiyi.

In the narrow defeat: Luke Hooley; Adam Clay, Ben M orris, George Tyson, Kameron Pearce-Paul; Danny Grimshaw, Dave Hewitt; Joe Burke, Kenny Hughes, Jack Spencer, Liam Bent, Liam Thompson, Luke Adamson. Subs: Wilkinson, Adibiyi, Ward, Gee.

Tries by full-back Nield and centre Tyson, plus three goals from four shots by half-back Hewit, gave Oldham their win in mid-summer, while two tries by hooker Hughes and five goals by full-back Hooley provided Oldham’s points when the French team avenged their earlier defeat.

Five Oldham players from back then are still at the club — Danny Langtree, Liam Bent, Dave Hewitt, Jack Spencer and Matty Wilkinson, who broke a leg in pre-season and hasn’t played since, although he is working hard on rehab and is making good progress.

Under-16s go FREE to Bower Fold on Sunday while adults from community clubs or other groups can go for £10 if they ring the club first on 07904 898177. Other fans can sit or stand for £12 if they buy a ticket online before midnight Saturday.

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