£20,000 up for grabs

Date published: Wednesday, October 1, 2014

OLDHAM RL Club will stand to pick up a prize purse of £20,000 if they smash their Grand Final hoodoo and beat Hunslet Hawks for the second time in three weeks at Headingley Carnegie on Sunday.

While promotion remains the ultimate reward for victory, the cash top-up will come in handy for Roughyeds, who lost money on each of their shared-gate play-off wins at Hunslet and York, watched respectively by 748 and 663 fans.
Take out expenses and VAT from gates like that, and split what’s left down the middle, and it doesn’t leave much for paying  players, coaches and backroom staff.
Furthermore, all income from Grand Final ticket sales will be retained by the RFL — and there will be no direct benefit to the four finalists from the presence of Sky Sports, who will be screening both games live.
If Oldham lose, they’ll get £7,500 as runners-up.
The Roughyeds squad broke with routine last night when they trained at Whitebank instead of their usual venue at Oasis Academy Oldham on Hollins Road.
Coach Scott Naylor was keen to have a physical session on grass and in order for that to happen they needed to play under the Whitebank floodlights.
Tickets are continuing to sell well and they will be available from 5pm to 7pm tonight, tomorrow and Friday, but NOT on Saturday morning. Tickets will cease to be sold at Whitebank at 7pm on Friday.
“Tickets have gone steadily since they were first on sale,” said chairman Chris Hamilton.
“We are well into the hundreds and it looks like our fans believe this will be our year.”
Despite the pressures and the excitement of preparing for such a big game, chairman and coach have found time to open a dialogue on planning for next year.
Said Hamilton: “We have started talking to players, but with a big final only days away we’ve got to perform a balancing act.
“We are not naive enough to think we can hang on until the final is out of the way, but at the same time we don’t want to upset the applecart.
“It’s an ongoing process in which Scott (Naylor) and I have talked at length, but the main focus right now is the Grand Final and the lads are happy with that.
“We have been in this position before and we are experienced in managing it.”
Mo Agoro, a nominee for Champion One Young Player of the Year, was in a ten-strong Oldham party, which was allocated table 13 (lucky for some) at last night’s black-tie Kingstone Press awards dinner at the Midland Hotel in Manchester.
He lost out to York duo Ben Reynolds and James Saltonstall, who couldn’t be split on the vote and were named as joint winners.
Other Championship One awards went to University of Gloucestershire All Golds (club of the year); Gary Thornton of York (coach of the year); Jack Lee of York (player of the year).
* Gloucester forward Frankie Foster (18) has been banned for two years by the National Anti-Doping Panel after he was found to be in breach of the RFL’s anti-doping regulations.
He was tested positive for a prohibited substance after the All Golds’ game against Oldham at Whitebank on July 13.