Bloomfield back in action

Date published: Thursday, August 14, 2014
DALE Bloomfield, top try scorer in Kingstone Press Championship One, plays for Oldham under-20s at Halifax tonight (7.30) in his first game back after injury.
Despite missing the Roughyeds’ last two games after suffering a dead leg at York on July 20, the former Rochdale winger still heads the division’s try scorers with 18.
Five others, including his fellow Oldham winger Mo Agoro, are hot on his heels with 17.
For most of the year Bloomfield and Agoro were the only recognised wingers in the senior squad, but Adam Clay’s late-season arrival at Whitebank was timed to perfection, given that Agoro had to miss the game at York with a knee injury.
Clay made his debut at York as Agoro’s replacement on the right wing and seven days later made a try-scoring home debut on the left wing in place of the injured Bloomfield.
Clay scored again at London Skolars, where Agoro went in for a hat-trick, completed by a length-of-the-field match-clincher with five minutes left.
Bloomfield’s return to fitness means three good wingers are chasing two spots as the season heads towards an exciting finish.
Mark Hobson, who hasn’t played first-team rugby for three months, had to decline selection in the under-20s tonight because of work commitments.
Back problems and the demands of his full-time job have severely disrupted his season, although he did manage a second team game at Leigh two weeks ago.
Tonight’s game at Halifax will be the third meeting of two evenly-matched sides, Halifax winning 27-24 at Whitebank in April and Oldham prevailing 23-22 at the same venue last month.
Oldham: Singleton; Dootson, Ravencroft, Buckley-Mayall, Bloomfield; Dempsey, Flanagan; R Joy, Ball, B Roden, A Joy, Partington, Wareing. Subs: Campbell, Parr, Bickerstaff, Kavanagh.
Hemel Stags, who come to Whitebank on Sunday (3pm), have lost prop James Howitt with a broken hand, but have strengthened for the run-in by signing Joel Thomas from French club UTC, Keiran Dixon and Mike McMeeken on dual-registration from London Broncos and Stephen Bannister on loan from North Wales Crusaders.
“We need to pick up points in the scramble for play-off spots so the Oldham game is very important to us,” said coach Troy Perkins.
The Stags team that lost to Hunslet last Sunday contained seven players who didn’t figure in Oldham’s 44-32 defeat in Hertfordshire in June — Ben Young, Barrie John Swindells, Alex Ingarfield, Jermaine Coleman and new boys Dixon, Bannister and Thomas.
Jermaine Coleman isn’t to be confused with Jy-Mel Coleman, the club’s classy outside-half, who had a brilliant game behind a dominant pack when the sides last met.
* Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton will be a studio guest tonight on Radio Manchester’s Rugby League Show between 6pm and 8pm.