Friendly for under-20s

Date published: Tuesday, January 28, 2014

THE latest crop of youngsters at Oldham RL Club will go on show for the first time at Whitebank in a pre-season friendly against Keighley Cougars.

New coach Neil Roden will put his young hopefuls on parade against opposition from a higher division on Wednesday, February 12, kick-off 7.45pm.
They will form the nucleus of the club’s under-20s squad in the forthcoming season, providing a fairly equal mix of new recruits and players who are back for a second season at Whitebank.
Those returning include forwards Aaron Hall, Rhys Wareing and Rob Ball.
One of the new boys in the class of 2014 is 17-year-old Tom Dempsey, a midfield playmaker who has been with Wigan Warriors and who is well known to Roden’s dad Jack, the Warriors’ chief scout.
Another member of the Roden rugby clan, 19-year-old Brad, will be hoping for better luck at Oldham this time round, having seriously damaged a shoulder in his first and only appearance at Whitebank last season.
A half-cousin of his new coach, Brad is a prop who was also part of the Wigan Warriors academy as a 16-year-old.
Said coach Roden: “I’ve got between 18 and 22 players training regularly and I’m expecting two more young prospects arriving this week.
“I still need somebody to give me a lift, but other than that things are going well. We’ll have a competitive squad. We’ve got some likely looking lads and I’m looking forward to seeing how we handle Keighley.
“A lot of the boys will be playing for Oldham for the first time at this level and it will be my first game as coach so it will mean a lot to us.”
Roden is hoping for a good turn-out of fans at his first testimonial event —- a quiz night at Whitebank this Saturday, February 1 (7.30pm for an 8pm start). 
Admission will be £2 on the door (maximum of six per team) and the quiz will be over five rounds with prizes for first, second and third.
The first team’s pre-season warm-up programme of three games starts at Barrow on Sunday (2pm kick off) and continues with two games at Whitebank against Swinton Lions on Sunday, February 9 (3pm) and against Leigh Centurions on Saturday, February 15 (2.30pm).
* Nigel Marland’s funeral will be at Oldham Crematorium on Friday at 2pm. A lifelong Oldham RL fan, he was chairman of ORSA (the supporters’ association) and he held various posts at the club as a volunteer worker.
Said chairman Chris Hamilton, a close friend: “Nigel’s wish was that anyone attending his funeral should wear anything in which they felt comfortable which means Roughyeds replica jerseys will be fine.”