Rogerís flying the flag!
Reporter: Matthew Chambers
Date online: 22 August 2013
AS it was so often during his career, Roger Halstead will be all eyes and ears this weekend at the Tetley’s Challenge Cup final - only this time he gets to play a role ON the pitch.
Roger (72), who was the Chronicle’s rugby league correspondent for over 40 years, has been selected to represent Oldham RLFC in a special celebration before kick-off.
Wearing an Oldham jersey and waving a flag with club crest, Roger — now the Roughyeds’ media manager — will line up with 94 other representatives from every club that entered the competition this year as an honour guard to welcome finalists Hull FC and Wigan.
“When we asked Roger to represent us he was a little taken aback,” said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton. “But I can’t think of anyone who would be more deserving. He’s been an outstanding servant of rugby league in general, but also of the town — both during his professional career at the Chronicle and here with the club.”
Roger and his wife Val will travel to the capital for a rehearsal at 10.30am, before the big moment before the kick-off. It promises to be an experience he will never forget.
“I know from being out there myself when I was RFL president, what it is like out on the pitch,” added Chris.
“The noise is deafening as the teams come out. It is difficult to get across just how overwhelming the atmosphere is.”
Ironically, Oldham failed to win any of the five Challenge Cup semi-finals Roger covered as a reporter.
“I am really honoured and privileged to carry the Oldham flag,” said Roger. “During my time covering the club, it was always a case of ‘so near, but so far’.
“In a very small way, I am representing all of the many thousands of people through the years who have wanted to see the club colours on show at Wembley.”
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