The BBC have chosen amateur side Haydock’s trip to Championship outfit Oldham as their live fixture to be streamed online in the next round of the Challenge Cup: and they have had a helping hand from a legend of the sport to prepare them for it.
The broadcaster has chosen the game between Oldham and Haydock for BBC online coverage, following a viewing audience of over 40,000 watching Toronto’s game against Siddal in the last round.
And Haydock – who are the lowest-ranked club to reach the fourth round – were given a session by multiple Challenge Cup and Lance Todd Trophy winner Sean Long on Tuesday night – a man who played alongside current Haydock coach Chris Smith.
“He and I played in the same team at Saints and he was delighted to accept my invitation,” said Smith.
“Sean was genuinely surprised by our skill levels and his words were that we dropped fewer passes than Saints did in their last game.
“We’ve got a lot of good players – that’s why we are champions of our league (North-West Men’s League) and we are unbeaten in nine or ten games in all competitions.”
— Haydock ARLFC (@HaydockOA) March 7, 2017
Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton said: “To have our tie chosen by the BBC as the focus game of the round was important for us as a club.
“It gives a much wider audience than usual an opportunity to watch us in action and it will enable us to spread the word about Oldham rugby.
“We have had to bring the kick-off time forward from 2pm to 1pm but an opportunity to play in the BBC’s feature game was too good to miss. The coverage will also showcase everything that’s good about the Challenge Cup, and the opportunities it provides for community clubs, given that our opponents Haydock have done wonderfully well to become the lowest-ranked club ever to reach the fourth round.”