Law Cup

Date published: Thursday, November 10, 2011

OLDHAM RL Club’s crucial 2012 season — four to be promoted  — will start in just over seven weeks.

Curtain-up will be at Whitebank on Bank Holiday Monday, January 2 (3pm) with the traditional Law Cup opener against Rochdale Hornets.

Roughyeds have home advantage for the second year in a row after winning 34-28 last time in the first-ever Law Cup clash at Whitebank.

It was the first of three derby wins for Tony Benson’s men in 2011, but Hornets won the all-important fourth encounter, prevailing 39-18 in a play-off tie at Spotland.

“We ended 2011 on a low, and it’s important we start 2012 on a high against the same opponents,” said Roughyeds’ assistant boss Martin Roden.

Roden is key to the success of the squad’s preparation over the next seven weeks.

Owning his own gym in Hindley, near Wigan, he works full time in the fitness business and has sole responsibility for the conditioning of Oldham’s players, individually and as a group.

Each player was given a weights and cardiovascular programme a fortnight ago and each will be tested when the squad convenes at Hindley on Saturday, November 26 for the start of full pre-season training.

“The Law Cup game will be a good marker to judge where we are in terms of being ready for the season,” said Roden.

“It’s always good to get one over on our derby rivals at the start of a new campaign, and we certainly owe them one after our defeat at Spotland in the play-offs.

“Both clubs have recruited well in the off-season, so there will be several new faces on show.”

Forwards Danny Heaton, Paul Smith, Neil Rigby and Bruce Johnson head Oldham’s new boys, while former Roughyeds favourite Paul O’Connor has joined Rochdale after taking a year out to fully recover from a shoulder operation.

Oldham have now announced two warm-up games, this one and the SEAT Trophy test at Whitehaven on Sunday, January 22 (3pm).