Michael Turner

Cian Tyrer wins the April 2024 Brian Walker Award

In form winger, Cian Tyrer deservedly won the April Brian Walker Award after a superb effort which brought him eleven tries in the three games Oldham played in the calendar month, including a wonderful ‘six of the best’ in the match at Hunslet on April 7th. Add to that the fact he also kicked seven goals in those three matches and it is little wonder that Cian got the vote. The £250 prize was passed on to Macmillan Cancer Support.

It is expected that the May award will be presented at the Hunslet match at Boundary Park on June 30th.

Bill And Cian 20240505
Oldham chairman Bill Quinn presents the cheque to Cian Tyrer for the April 2024 ‘Brian Walker Award’.

Two successful Oldham RL socials

Following on from the wonderful evening at the club’s ‘Celebration Dinner’ at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on April 26th, the Players Association presented a musical, social evening at the the White Hart, Lydgate on May 9th.

Club Dinner
M.C. Michael ‘Braddy’ Bradshaw with Jason Robinson at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The club dinner at the QE Hall featured the dual-code rugby international, Jason Robinson as the guest speaker who gave a most frank and interesting account of his rugby journey from humble beginnings in Leeds to rugby stardom for Wigan, Great Britain RL and England and the British Lions RU. There was also a talk on the ‘Past, Present and Future’ of the club given by John Chadwick, Sean Long and Mike Ford respectively.

At the White Hart the entertainment was provided by local singers Victor Michael and Andy Lee with an extensive repertoire of songs from various musical genres. The Oldham club was well represented with all the directors present and representatives from the Local Amateur League, Rugby Oldham and the Heritage Trust also in attendance along with members of the Players Association.

A great night was enjoyed by all with the evening a credit to prime organisers; Ray Hicks, Joe Warburton and John Watkins. Stronger together!

Vic And Andy
Victor Michael and Andy Lee belt out a number at the White Hart.

Great granddaughter and great, great grandson receive Heritage Certificate for Tommy Cash

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Oldham chairman Bill Quinn, presents the Heritage Certificate to Patricia and Andrew Whittle, also in the photo are Michael Turner from the Heritage Trust and Mike Elliott of the Players Association.

At the recent home match against Cornwall on April 14th the ORL Heritage Trust were delighted to present the Heritage Certificate to Patricia and Andrew Whittle, the great granddaughter and great, great grandson of the Oldham winger from the Edwardian era Tommy Cash. Patricia kindly brought in to show the Heritage Trust, an Oldham shirt of Tommy’s along with a Lancashire shield medal from 1908-09 and an Oldham cap.

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Left: Tommy with the Lancashire Shield in 1909. Right: The winners medal.

Tommy (Heritage number 80) played for the Roughyeds between 1902 – 1909 and later went on to be a decorated war hero in World War 1.

Tommy was born on Ashton Road, Oldham and was first introduced to Rugby football at the local St Pauls school. A diminutive, figure he went on to play for Oldham Edge Recreation and Glenby at half back. He made his Oldham debut at centre in the 7 – 2 win at Hull Kingston on September 27th, 1902. He made 21 appearances that season, all the rest were on the wing, this being the position where he would become a great favourite with the Oldham crowd.

He topped the Oldham try list in 1904-05 with 13 and 1905-06 with 21 and irrespective of his slight stature, Tommy was well known for his courage and would take on the heftiest of opponents. Once he received his marching orders, to the amusement of the crowd, after an entanglement with a burly Leeds forward. Along with several of his team mates, he left to assist the newly formed Coventry club in 1910.

In total he made 139 senior appearances for Oldham in which he scored 63 tries.

During the First World War he joined the King’s Royal Rifles and earned the Military Medal and bar for heroism. A brief description of the action as reported in the local press is below.

‘For great gallantry at Olive trench near Hollebeke on June 14th 1917, when he rushed forward

with the first wave and bombed the enemy’s dug-out and, being an orderly to an officer who had

been wounded, attended him with great devotion under heavy shell fire in the open.’

Then three months later he was awarded the bar …

At Passchendaele Ridge on September 20th, he led his section, the NCOs having become

casualties, against a strong point where he personally killed three of the enemy and after capturing

his objective showed great coolness under heavy shell fire and was of great assistance.’

Brian Walker Awards resume


The “Brian Walker” – Player of the month awards have resumed with the winners for February and March 2024 being Matty Wildie and Adam Lawton.

Matty received the award for February after a tremendous opening to the season with his prize of £250 being donated to the “Wakefield Hospice”.

Likewise Adam has had consistent good form and his March award prize was given over to the “Macmillan Cancer Support”. Both players are seen receiving their cheques from club chairman Bill Quinn.

April 2

Mid-season dinner at the Queen Elizabeth Hall to celebrate the progress of Oldham RLFC

OLDHAM RLFC’s forthcoming mid-season dinner promises to be an evening highlighting the club’s accomplishments over the past twelve months, as well as looking to the future.

It has just been over a year since the club was taken over by a five-strong consortium headed by Mike Ford on March 24th 2023.

The main purpose of the purchasing of the club – as revealed to the rugby league world at a press conference at Boundary Park by Ford – was to “provide Oldham with a team that everybody can be proud of”.

It all started in early 2022, fresh from the club’s first ever loss to an amateur club.

Playing in the third division, and being the lowest ranked heartland club in the whole of rugby league, Ford felt the need to act.

Fast forward to now, the club has secured its long-term future at Boundary Park, a venue which would rival many Super League grounds. Enthusiasm for Oldham Rugby has massively increased with sales of season tickets more than tripling and average attendances seeing similar increases.

On the field, a championship calibre of squad has been amassed, spearheaded by a first class coach in Sean Long, with the ultimate goal of reviving Oldham’s prominence in the sport.

The event, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on April 26, will serve as celebration of the above, as well as a reflection on the past, while also providing an insight into what is to come for the club.

John Chadwick, Sean Long and Mike Ford will speak about the Past, Present and perceived Future for Oldham RLFC.

MD Mike Ford will share where he envisages the club going in the next few years, including growing the club’s boys’ and girls’ pathways, as well as further increasing attendances and building the Melrose training base into a first-class facility for use of the club and the community at large.

Cross-code rugby star Jason Robinson will be speaking at the event, which will have Michael Bradshaw as MC with entertainment throughout the night provided by comedian John Gillam.

Tickets are priced at £48 per head, which includes a three course meal.

There will also be a raffle, plus an auction on the night.

Mike Ford said: “We hope to have a brilliant turnout for what promises to be a fantastic night. “It’ll be great to hear the stories Jason Robinson has to share. I coached him when he was captain of the England side which reached the 2007 World Cup final – I loved coaching him because he was a lot smaller than me. There are not many more decorated players in both codes than Jason and it’ll be a real treat. We have come so far in twelve months as a club, both on and off the field, with the dinner recognising that.”

Guests are asked to arrive by 7pm to allow a prompt start at 7:30pm with the event expected to run until late.

Venue details: The Queen Elizabeth Hall, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1QJ

Tickets for the event can be purchased at the club’s online shop

John Etty RIP

February 29th 2024

It is with the deepest sorrow and sympathy to the whole family that we report the death of our former winger John Etty, who has died in a Blackpool hospital at the age of 97.

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He was the last surviving member of what is generally known as Oldham’s ‘great side of the 50s’ the team that won the Lancashire Cup in 1956, 1957 and 1958 and were Rugby League champions in 1957 when they beat Hull 15-14 in the play-off final at Odsal Stadium, Bradford, on a day that will forever be etched in the annals of Oldham sport.

They’ve all gone now, but anyone old enough to remember May 18, 1957 will never forget that day and that match or Etty’s two tries in a memorable triumph.

1956x 1
Back: D. Vines, W.B. Ganley, S. Little, C. Winslade, D. Turner, K. Jackson,
J. Keith, F. Daley. Front: F. Pitchford, D. Ayres, J. Etty, A. Davies, R. Cracknell.

For the record, Oldham trailed 6-5 at half-time and then went 11-5 down, but the brilliant boot of Bernard Ganley and tries by Etty (his second) and centre Denis Ayres did the trick.

After originally playing at centre, John was switched to the wing, after a dozen or so matches, to great effect. His barnstorming runs down the flank made him a great favourite of the Watersheddings fans. The 1956-57 season was a personal triumph for John when he established the Oldham post-war try record with 43 touchdowns, which included two in the Championship Final against Hull and one in the Lancashire Cup Final triumph over St Helens.

The golden streak of form that John found that year was a major contribution to the Championship coming to Oldham.

John, a Yorkshireman, played for Batley, Oldham and Wakefield and won every domestic honour the game had to offer and was capped by Yorkshire county.

The sincere condolences of everyone at the club go to John‘s family and friends. 

Bill Francis RIP

17th February 2024

It is with great sadness that the Heritage Trust was informed of the death of our former player coach Bill Francis aged 76.

Francis Bill

Bill (Heritage Number 829) was born in Featherstone and played for Wigan, St Helens, Oldham and Salford at club level, and Yorkshire, Wales (who he qualified for through heritage) and Great Britain at representative level.

Rated as one of the Wigan ‘all time greats’ with 400 appearances for the cherry and whites, he joined Oldham in 1979 as player coach, with Graham Starkey as manager, after a successful spell at St Helens where he was a try scorer in the 1978 Challenge Cup final.

Bill was a utility back renowned for his deceptive pace, passing skills and a great sidestep. He came to Oldham with a view to his experience helping to bring on the young, up-and-coming talent that was at the club in the colts team of the late 1970s. He made 49 appearances for the Roughyeds scoring four tries before moving on to Salford.

The sincere condolences of the Oldham RL community are extended to all of Bill’s family and friends.

Great support for the Roughyeds in the Challenge Cup at Barrow

There was a tremendous following of Oldham supporters at the 3rd round Challenge Cup tie at Barrow last Saturday (February 10th).

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Jordan Turner celebrates with the supporters after the match.

Two coach loads travelled up early and were there to welcome the team when they arrived and were delighted by Oldham’s 22 – 10 victory. The transport was organised by the ‘Yeds’ supporters group and was heavily subsidised by club chairman, Bill Quinn. A fantastic gesture which was really appreciated by the fans.

A big thank you also to Chris and Michelle at the “Fox and Pine” which once again, was the centre of operations.

Stronger Together!

Standard Cup Final to be played at Boundary Park

This year’s Standard Cup Final will be played at Boundary Park on Easter Saturday, March 30th with the kick off at 11.45am.

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Events at Boundary Park on Finals Day, will start at 10.30am with the Johnny Blair under-11s memorial match in memory of the former Oldham stand-off – a player of some repute.

It’s great to see this grand old competition which dates back to 1904 played on a ground with such fabulous facilities. 

Colin Hawkyard RIP

January 2024

It is with sadness that Heritage Trust learned of the news of the death of former Oldham player Colin Hawkyard at the age of 65.

Colin (Heritage Number 818) signed for Oldham in 1978 from the Bradley amateur club in his native Huddersfield after playing a few trial matches in the ‘A’ team. He made his debut on December 17th of that year playing in the second-row and scored two tries in a 25 – 13 victory away at Huyton. Mostly remembered as a tireless back-row forward who ALWAYS gave 100% effort, Colin played 189 first team matches for the Roughyeds scoring 32 tries. He did however make well over 30 of those appearances playing as a back in the three-quarters.

Hawkyard Colin

Colin was a “players player” who never shirked the hard work, either driving the ball in or making tackle after tackle in the Oldham cause. While the limelight usually went to one or other of his team-mates, he did contribute an everlasting memory for those of us lucky enough to be there, when he scored against the almighty 1986 Australian touring team in a never to be forgotten night at Watersheddings. The Kangaroos were destroying the cream of the English clubs examples being: Hull KR 46 – 10 / Leeds 40 – 0  / St Helens 32 – 8 / Hull FC 48 – 0 but a dogged Oldham performance restricted the tourists to a 22 – 16 victory, the closest margin of the tour. Colin’s try was the result of excellent backing up following a break by Mick Worrall. Two years later it was Colin himself who split the Featherstone defence which set up a second try for Des Foy in that dramatic victory for Oldham over Rovers at Old Trafford.

The sincere condolences of everyone at the Oldham Rugby League Heritage Trust are sent out to Colin’s family and friends.