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Oldhams creditable draw with Super League Broncos

A pressure penalty goal by Kieran Tyrer almost on the final hooter gave Oldham a highly-creditable 18-18 draw in a pre-season warm-up game against London Broncos at Boundary Park.

A draw was probably a fair result as Oldham followed up their 1895 Cup group win against Halifax Panthers by holding Super League’s newest club, thus justifying their status as red-hot favourites to win League One and to at least hold their own in the Championship next year,

The draw was all the more pleasing because coach Sean Long didn’t use stars like Joe Wardle, Craig Kopczak, Jordan Turner and Matty Wildie even though he named them among his possible interchanges.

Moreover, the home side constantly struggled to satisfy the match official at play-the-ball, conceding vital possession several times, often in strong attacking position.

Broncos went 10-0 up in as many minutes, but Oldham showed resilience in abundance to defend brilliantly thereafter; to peg it back to 6-10 at half-time; to go in front at 12-10; to trail 12-18 with ten minutes to go; and to stage a grandstand finish with an Emmerson Whittel try and then that all-important Kieran Tyrer penalty,

Other key factors included a marvellous conversion by Jamie Ellis, a great try by Jordan Paga and a pin-point Paga grubber to establish the Whittel try.

The Oldham Players’ Association, who had a strong presence at the game, have their monthly meeting this evening at 7.45pm at Springhead Sports and Social Club and all players and former players are reminded that they would be most welcome, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

Annual membership fees of only £10 annually are now due for 2024 but the main thing this evening is to get players and former players at the meeting. There is a big drive on to get new members, led by Tony Finan and Ray Hill, ex-commercial manager, and the attendance of anyone who has ever worn the Oldham jersey — that’s first team, ‘A’ team, ‘B’ team or colts — or has had an official connection with the club would be welcomed with open arms.

£10 a year is a snip, particularly when considering that, courtesy of the RFL and RL Cares, membership of the Oldham Players’ Association offers FREE attendance at internationals, Grand Finals and the like, while locally there are discounted offers to watch Oldham home games at Boundary Park and to attend local rugby league dinners and other functions.

We are all in this together, not only Oldham RLFC’s adopted catchphrase, but a fact in reality at a time of great change in Rugby League.

Indeed, more than 500 children and adults from the town’s local community game attended the Oldham v London Broncos game under a special offer from the club and Broadway Suite host, Braddy, said:

“This town of ours is a REAL rugby league town at all levels. Let’s build on that and go from strength to strength — together.”

Managing director Mike Ford was in Italy on Saturday to watch one of his sons, George, playing for England RU, but he left that match early to catch the plane home and he was back in Diggle by 10pm and in overall control at BP yesterday.

Nevertheless, Joe Warburton played a key role in the big community club project, not only having an overall connection with the project, but having direct control of St Anne’s under-12s, proudly wearing his Saints colours, of course.

There was a big St Anne ’s presence at the game and a lot of folk from the Waterhead, Saddleworth Rangers, Limehurst Lions and Higginshaw clubs.

Said Joe:

“It all went brilliantly and I’m sure everyone will have enjoyed the game and the match-day experience at Boundary Park.”

Oldham next play at BP a week on Sunday, February 18 (3pm) against Rochdale Hornets, or Oldham old boys as some would say, in the 1895 Cup. This coming Saturday. Feb 10, Roughyeds go to Barrow (kick-off 12.30) in the Challenge Cup and Sean Long con firmed when interviewed in the Broadway Suite yesterday that Oldham would be taking the game seriously, as they will regard any game in any competition in the weeks ahead.

He will have a difficult job in picking a team, given that his charges drew with Super League London Broncos last time out with a young team.

Halifax’s 52-12 win at Rochdale yesterday means a win against Hornets at BP on Feb 18 will assure Oldham of a place in the straight-draw quarter-finals. Other group results in the 1895 Cup yesterday were as follows: Swinton Lions 18, Widnes Vikings 6; Dewsbury 4, Bradford Bulls 40; York 4, Wakefield Trinity 40; Whitehaven 12, Barrow Raiders 18; Doncaster 18, Sheffield Eagles 22; Batley 15, Featherstone Rovers 14.

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