Summer Bash ‘a big carrot to dangle’

Date published: Friday, March 13, 2015
OLDHAM RL Club have explained to fans just how important it is for Roughyeds to go far in the new iPro Sport League One Cup.

A strong case could be argued that it is even more appealing than the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, given that third-tier clubs have virtually no chance of getting to the later stages, let alone going all the way to a Wembley final.
However, each of the eight clubs still with an interest in the League One knock-out cup, including Oldham, have a realistic opportunity to get to the final and to then be part of the RFL’s Summer Bash at Blackpool in May.
There will be more than a few bob in it, not to mention a day out for fans at Bloomfield Road and — all too briefly, some would say —- an hour or two in the spotlight at one of rugby league’s major multi-club events.
“That’s a big carrot to dangle in front of a club like ours,” said Oldham coach Scott Naylor.
“All eight quarter-finalists will be hell bent on getting to Blackpool, so the two who make it will have earned their rewards.
“That’s how it should be. You can guarantee that if we win at Barrow on Sunday, and it’s going to be tough, the semi-final will be even harder.
“I think it’s a great concept for clubs at our level.”
Victory for Oldham at Craven Park would also give everyone associated with the club, especially supporters, a huge boost of confidence ahead of the first league game in the new 14-club division at Rochdale on Good Friday.
As for Barrow, they have clearly shown by their signing activity this week that they mean business on all fronts.
Not content with winning all of their six games so far this season, including four friendlies, they have topped up their squad with the addition of former Whitehaven man Bradd Crellin, Aussie centre Cameron Pitman from Leigh on loan, and half-back Josh Ward, also from Leigh, on a two-year deal.
Ward has been at Barrow on loan since pre-season, but he is now a fully-fledged Raider, his signing creating space for Pitman to become the latest of several Leigh players to be shipped up to Craven Park on a temporary basis.
They currently have five —- Joe Bullock, Craig Briscoe, Chris Hankinson, Anthony Bate and Pitman, who will continue to train full time at Leigh.
Oldham lost 36-26 in a warm-up game at Barrow in mid-February, after which Paul Crarey’s men surprisingly struggled to pip Gloucester 16-14 at Craven Park in the first round of the League One Cup before seeing off Keighley 38-22, also at home, in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.