Boults,Whitmore turn back the clock

Date published: Friday, May 16, 2014
JASON Boults and Danny Whitmore have more reasons than most for wanting to see York well beaten at Whitebank on Sunday.
Rewind four years and the three strongest teams in what was then Co-operative Championship One were Hunslet, Oldham and York.
Hunslet finished top with 55 points and were promoted; Oldham were second with 52 points; York ended up third on 39 points, but only because Blackpool were deducted ten for a breach of the RFL’s operational rules.
From there, the City Knights went on to beat Tony Benson’s Roughyeds 25-4 in the play-off final at Warrington and thus inflict Oldham’s fourth final defeat in a row.
But that was only part of the fascinating story of Oldham and York in 2010 when they clashed four times in total, every one of them a cracker.
Of the current crop of Oldham players only Boults and Whitmore were at the club back then and they were involved in each of the four games.
The first was In May of that year when Roughyeds moved into their new home at Whitebank. It was no fairytale start because York won 34-28 with Boults at prop and Whitmore at stand-off for the injured Neil Roden.
In August, Oldham won the reverse fixture 33-18 on their way to a second-place finish and yet another crack at the play-offs after finishing beaten finalists in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
They were to see off York 41-32 in another tight game at Whitebank to book their place in the final. 
York got another chance, beat Blackpool easily and then broke Oldham hearts at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in the one that really mattered.
Little wonder then that Boults and Whitmore will have old scores to settle on Sunday, urged on by fans who remember all too vividly the pain of 2010.
Now, like then, the same three teams seem to be the ones most likely to be scrapping for end-of-season honours.
“York are a quality team with quality players,” summed up Oldham boss Scott Naylor. “They’ve kept most of their squad from last year and we’ll need to play as well as we did against Oxford a fortnight ago, if not better.”
Oxford won at York early in the season, but that will count for nothing as the Minster men prepare to play Oldham this weekend and league leaders Hunslet at home seven days later.
They couldn’t have picked a worse time to run into injury problems — so much so that they are scurrying around at the last minute trying to pick up at least one experienced prop on loan in time for him to play at Whitebank.
Nathan Freer, their biggest prop, is out with concussion and their other front-line prop Jack Aldous is doubtful with hamstring problems.
With Iain Morrison and Austin Bell also sidelined, coach Gary Thornton might have to play four rookie front-rowers —Jake Joynt, Jack Pickles, Nathan Harper and Tim Stubbs —- who have only 19 senior games between them.
“Oldham are a big side and on the very day we need big men we might end up with a depleted front row,” said Thornton.
“We are looking around to see if anyone is available.”
Oldham (from): Nield, Whitehead, Agoro, Okanga-Ajwang, Wood, Cookson, Bloomfield, Palfrey, Robinson, Roper, Joy, Boults, Whitmore, Hughes, Files, Ward, Davidson, Mason, Crowley, Langtree, Gee, Tyson, Hobson.
York (from): Reynolds, Haynes, A Dent, Saltonstall, Minikin, B Dent, B Hardcastle, Presley, Pickles, Lee, Aldous, Mallinder, E Smith, Paterson, P Smith, Ford, Joynt, Harper, Stubbs.