Closing on a ‘friendly’ opponents

Date published: Wednesday, August 21, 2013

OLDHAM RL Club hope to know soon whether they have been successful in finding friendly opposition in order to keep their squad match fit over the next month.

Chairman Chris Hamilton has been beavering away on this and he believes he might be seeing light at the end of the tunnel in the quest to keep the Roughyeds’ players in match trim ahead of the crucial play-offs.
Oldham’s first big game won’t be until the middle of September.
“We’re looking for competitive opposition and we expect to know something one way or the other in the next couple of days,” he said.

The Roughyeds’ neck-and-neck race with North Wales Crusaders for the Championship One title is going down to the wire and is unlikely to be resolved until Sunday, September 1 when Crusaders end their league programme with a home game against South Wales Scorpions.
Oldham could hit the tape first this weekend — and with it secure automatic promotion — but only in the unlikely event of Crusaders losing at London Skolars on Friday evening by more than 12 points.
In that case they would get nothing from the game and they would still trail Oldham by four points with only one more game to play.
If they were to lose by 12 or fewer they would merit a bonus point, which would leave them requiring to win their final game against Scorpions to pip Oldham to the title by virtue of their superior for-and-against record, currently +337 against +221.
A Crusaders win on Friday would put them within touching distance of promotion, one point behind Roughyeds with a home game still to come.
They face a tough challenge in North London, however, without their injured centre star Stuart Reardon and after what is likely to be a harrowing drive south at the start of a Bank Holiday weekend.
Skolars also need the points to enhance their prospects of finishing third and they owe the Welshmen one after losing to them in the Northern Bowl Final.
Crusaders boss Clive Griffiths is aware of what lies ahead in a game to be televised by Premier Sports.
He said: “It’s still in our hands, but we can’t go jumping up and down. We still have games to win.
“We’ll be at a disadvantage on Friday. We’ve nearly 200 miles to travel and it’s also difficult for the boys to get a full day off work.
“It’s not like Rochdale v Oldham in a local derby (last Thursday night’s Premier Sports game). It’s North Wales to North London, a long way, and in the magnitude of the game that puts us at a disadvantage.”
Despite Griffiths’s concerns, Roughyeds boss Scott Naylor fully expects to finish second and to be in pole position for a crack at promotion via the play-offs — a message he rammed home to the players again at last night’s training session.
He said: “We’re just ticking over for the time being. We don’t know yet who we will meet in the play-off so our training right now isn’t even done with a specific game in mind.
“We’ve no injuries, no problems and everyone will be available for the challenges ahead. That’s how it should be.
“We’ll be interested to see the outcome of the London-Crusaders game, obviously, but don’t hold your breath.”
The under-20s’ season is finished, but three members of their squad will continue to train with Naylor’s men — prop Aaron Hall, scrum-half Sam Singleton and back-row forward Danny Rasool.