Championship Scholarship scheme

Date published: Thursday, April 14, 2011

OLDHAM RL Club are now operating at three levels with a first-team in Co-operative Championship One, a second team in the Reserves Championship and a third-tier outfit which has been training for a few months under the new Championship Scholarship scheme.

A total of 21 young players are currently signed-on for the Roughyeds’ scholarship squad and are training once a week in readiness for seven matches, spread over the summer, against other Championship clubs which are also involved in the RFL-driven scheme.

The plan is to provide a second opportunity to break into the professional game for young players aged 16 to 18 who have been on scholarship with Super League clubs but, for whatever reason, have not been offered ongoing contracts and further advancement at Super League level.

“We’ve got young players from various parts of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and I’ve got to say they have been brilliant from day one,” said the man in charge of the Roughyeds scheme, Phil Costin.

“Their response to everything we are trying to do has been terrific. From the third week of April we will be training twice a week and the lads can’t wait.

“They have all been with Super League clubs and they come with good habits and great enthusiasm to make the most of their second chance.

“Some of them still have commitments with amateur clubs, and we fully and totally respect that, but the idea is that we will be playing about seven games across the summer and the boys will be showing us what they can do in a game situation.”

The Oldham contingent, which can be extended to 24 under the regulations, come from Bradford, Huddersfield, Salford, Wigan and Widnes.

Added Phil: “The club has shown many times recently its willingness to promote young players from the reserves into the first team and this new scheme means that we now have in place a ready-made pathway for the scholarship boys to move up through the ranks into the reserves and, hopefully, on to the first team.

“We are all looking forward to the next few months in which we will be playing games as well as training and in which the scholarship lads will be keen to impress.”