Roden’s big night

Date published: Monday, November 24, 2014
PLAYERS past and present saluted Oldham Rugby League Club stalwart Neil Roden at his testimonial dinner at Whitebank.
Brothers Phil and Richard Joy represented the current squad, but it was mainly a night of nostalgia thanks to the reunion of many players who, over the years, turned out alongside Roden in many of his record 296 Roughyeds’ appearances, going back to the year 2000 when he made his debut off the bench at Featherstone.
Paul Norton, Jason Clegg, David Gibbons, Anthony Gibbons, Keith Brennan, Leo Casey and Martin McLoughlin formed the old guard, while Phil and Richard Joy represented the current squad.
Andy Gregory was guest speaker and Jack Dearden of BBC Radio Manchester was MC. 
The Gibbons twins, Clegg, Casey, Norton and Brennan all played in the game Roden selected as the best and most satisfying of his 296 — the play=off semi-final at Rochdale in 2001 when Oldham battled back from 32-14 down with 18 minutes left to win 39-32.
It took Roughyeds into a Grand Final at Spotland against Widnes Vikings, who won 24-14 to earn their place in Super League.
Chairman Chris Hamilton paid tribute to Roden’s long and loyal service to the club which, in two separate spells, covered a total of 12 seasons as a player and another as coach of the under-20s side.
Roden, whose 113 tries created another club record that is unlikely to be beaten, said he was proud to wear the Oldham jersey for nearly all his career. His one regret was that, in his four Grand Finals, he was unable to deliver what the club undoubtedly deserved —– silverware and promotion to a higher level.
The Roughyeds’ annual dinner and 2014 player-of-the-year awards will be held at Whitebank this coming Saturday (7pm for 7.30pm). Ring Janet on (0161) 624 9630 ext 70552 for tickets, £25 including three-course meal.