OLDHAM RL Club’s third-round Carnegie Challenge Cup tie against Cumbrian amateurs Egremont Rangers will be played next Friday, March 23 at the Recreation Ground, Whitehaven, kick off 8pm.
Roughyeds acknowledge that a Friday night fixture in Whitehaven will not suit their supporters, but point out that it was caused by unusual circumstances which were outside the club’s control.
“We didn’t have much choice, but we apologise to our fans nevertheless,” said chairman Chris Hamilton.
The cup draw produced the unlikely scenario of Whitehaven, Wath Brow Hornets and Egremont all wanting to play home ties on the same ground over the same weekend.
As one would expect, Whitehaven opted to play Hunslet Warriors on the Sunday.
Wath Brow were given the Saturday because opponents South Wales Scorpions have so far to travel.
That only left Friday night for the Egremont-Oldham game.
Roughyeds raised the idea of two ties taking place on the Saturday, but that was considered by the locals to be logistically impossible.
Added Hamilton: “We haven’t gone into this lightly.
“We first spoke to our players to make sure they could get time off work. All will need at least half a day off, some will need a full day.
“I must stress, though, that talks with Egremont were very amicable. We understood their position and they appreciated both our concerns and our co-operation.
“The flip side is that as ours will be the first of the weekend’s three ties we might get the biggest crowd . . . that’s how Egremont see it anyway.”
Roughyeds’ reserves go to Keighley Cougars tonight (7.45pm kick off) with a side showing several changes from the one beaten 38-14 by Sheffield Eagles at Whitebank last week.
Out go Onyango, Thomas, Noon and Forman; in come Fisher, Fogarty, Rigby and Gilchrist.
Five players from the first-team squad will be on view — Matthew Fogarty at centre; Tom Rigby on the wing; Jack Reid at stand-off; Liam Gilchrist and Danny Langtree in the forwards.
Team: Nield; Fisher, Fogarty, Hinsley, Rigby; Reid, Connick; Joy, Mansfield, Gilchrist, Dean, Langtrree, Smith. Subs: Jackson, Hughes, Eyres, Bailey.
The Supporters’ Association (ORSA) stages a quiz night at Whitebank (8pm).