Boults out for Skolars match

Date published: Friday, August 27, 2010

PROP Jason Boults, who has a groin injury, misses only his second game of the season at London Skolars tonight when Oldham drop the curtain on their 2010 Co-operative Championship One campaign.

He could have played at a pinch, but coach Tony Benson and his medical staff felt it would be wiser to rest him as a precautionary measure and give him a better chance of being fully fit for the crucial play-off game against York City Knights at Whitebank on Sunday, September 12.

Boults’s fellow prop Luke Sutton will also miss the trip to White Hart Lane, partially because of a knee injury but also because his partner is expecting to give birth imminently.

With two more forwards, Craig Robinson (broken finger) and Ian Hodson (knee), also ruled out, versatile Chris Clarke can expect to be used as a front-row man, sharing prop duties with Wayne Kerr and Dave Ellison.

New-boy Johnny Walker, who enjoyed an impressive debut in the second-row last time out against Hornets RL, keeps his spot in a 19-strong Roughyeds squad.

Centre Marcus St Hilaire didn’t play against Hornets because of a shoulder injury, but he has passed a fitness check and is named in the party to travel.

Roughyeds (from): Ashe, Bentley, Brocklehurst, Chandler, Clarke, Ellison, Fogerty, Gillam, Heaton, St Hilaire, Kerr, Mansfield, McNally, O’Connor, Onyango, M Roden, N Roden, Walker, Whitmore.

Whatever the result Oldham will finish as divisional runners-up, but victory would give them the distinction of having won each of their ten league games away from home — a remarkable effort.

“We’ve mentioned that briefly,” said Benson, “but it is more important for us to focus on producing a good team effort . If we do that everything else will slot into place.”

The league programme in both Championship divisions ended for all other clubs last weekend, but Skolars get special permission each year to play their last home game the night before the Carnegie Challenge Cup final at nearby Wembley.

They turn it into a carnival occasion; market the match as ‘Friday Night Lights’; and always get their biggest crowd of the season.

Said Benson, a former Skolars coach: “There will be a great atmosphere and Skolars will be really fired up for this one. We will need to be on our mettle.”

The Londoners beat Gateshead 68-22 last time out and coach James Massara is hoping to follow up with a first-ever win in the ‘Friday Night Lights’ fixture.

He said: “It’s our biggest game of the year on a pretty special weekend for rugby league in the capital.”