Oldham's play-off victory attracts record viewing figures

The Betfred League 1 play-off final at Oldham generated record viewing figures for a League 1 game on Our League this season and was the fourth best overall.

Nearly 6,000 watched Roughyeds beat Newcastle Thunder in a classic on Our League and a further 37,500 was the combined figure on Twitch for the Oldham game and the Betfred £1M match in Toronto.

Moreover, the attendance of 1,204 was the biggest this season at the Vestacare Stadium and the fifth best in League 1 all year.

The Toronto game generated record viewing figures for Championship games on Sky Sports this season  with an average match audience of more than 143,000 which peaked at more than 245,000.

An RFLspokesman said: "These figures show the benefit of getting our major games on to Sky Sports Main Event and the challenge we face in having games played on  a Saturday evening when they clash with programmes like Strictly."

Newly-promoted Oldham, who have since appointed Matt Diskin as head coach on a two-year contract, have been receiving congratulatory messages from home and abroad.

One, from Australia, was sent by former Roughyeds forward Mal Graham, who had two spells at the club in the mid-1980s.

He arrived here with his fellow Aussie Gary Warnecke ahead of the 85-86 season.

The highlight of his first season was a second-row appearance alongside Mick Worrall.in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Castleford at Central Park, Wigan.

He transferred to Bradford Bulls for the following year but returned to Oldham in 87-88 as assistant player-coach on a panel headed by Eric Fitzsimons and also featuring Iain MacCorquodale.

Graham made an ever-present 38 appearances that year --  65 games, 37 tries overall --- as Oldham won the Second Division title, the Second Division premiership and reached the John Player Trophy semi-final.

Highlight was the Premiership final at Old Trafford where Graham was in the second-row with Colin Hawkyard as Roughyeds snatched a thriller against Featherstone Rovers, 28-26.

A club sookesman said: "It was good to hear from Mal and to know that news of our big move up in the world had spread quickly to the southern hemisphere."

By Roger Halstead

 

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