WE can bemoan the club’s bad luck on several fronts this season and its perhaps typical that we should be required to play the two best teams in the Betfred Championship on successive Sundays at this business end of the year.
After giving every ounce of energy and stretching every sinew in a rousing, inspirational rearguard action to restrict unbeaten leaders Toulouse Olympique to a 34-6 win at Bower Fold last week, we now have it all to do again this Sunday.
Second-placed Featherstone Rovers roll into Bower Fold (3pm, Sunday) on the back of 16 league wins from 17 played and determined to win promotion to Super League in an end-of-year showdown with terrific Toulouse.
Rovers have been turned over only twice this year — first by Super League giants Hull FC in the Challenge Cup last April and then, some four months later, by their arch rivals at the top of the Championship table.
From France’s fourth biggest city, Olympique travelled to the tiny West Yorkshire town of Featherstone on August 1 and whipped Rovers 23-6.
More significantly, Rovers have already put Roughyeds to the sword twice this year, winning 58-10 in a pre-season friendly and following up with a 68-0 win in the league at their place.
We will take great heart, though, from the improvements made under Brian McDermott and the way we restricted the Frenchmen to only two second-half tries last time out.
“We’ll be going into the Featherstone game with just the same outlook and attitude that took Toulouse by surprise,” promised club captain Gareth Owen.
“We had a good crack at the French side. As full-time professionals at a big-spending club, they were too fit and too fast for us in the end, but there were periods of the game when we were on top — no doubt about that.”
A few Oldham players picked up knocks, but hopefully they will be cleared to play.
Under-16s go FREE while adults can stand for £17 and sit for £19, with the usual concessions for over-65.
Tickets can be purchased in advance online via the Roughyeds ticket page.