Crucial matches to play

Date published: Monday, June 18, 2012

OLDHAM RL Club, bracing themselves for their next two crucial matches in the Championship One promotion race, have reached agreement with Keighley Cougars to extend the loan period of back-row forward Lewis Reed.

The 21-year-old former Bradford Bulls academy forward came initially on a month’s loan which has now run its course, but under the terms of the new agreement he will remain with Roughyeds on a week to week basis.

He has played in each of the last three games, making his debut as a substitute against Whitehaven at Whitebank on May 20 and then starting at loose-forward against South Wales Scorpions at home and North Wales Crusaders away.

Oldham-born prop David Tootill’s month’s loan from Hunslet Hawks has also expired.

Like Reed, the 25-year-old former Leeds, Harlequins and Batley Bulldogs front-rower played against Whitehaven and the two Welsh clubs, ending in defeats by ten, five and two points respectively.

“We’ve been talking to Hunslet about David’s situation and we are waiting for them to come back to us,” said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton.

Clubs are allowed a maximum of four loan and/or dual-registered players and given that Tootill’s initial agreement has finished pending the outcome of these latest talks, Roughyeds currently have three — Reed (loan), teenage prop Colton Roche (dual registration from Leeds Rhinos) and winger Chris Holroyde, whose loan agreement with Halifax has another week to run.

Holroyde will squeeze in one more game before his future comes under review, which means he will be in the selection mix when coach Tony Benson names his side to go into battle against derby rivals Rochdale Hornets at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm).

Oldham lie just outside the top four promotion places in fifth spot with 16 points — five fewer than fourth-placed Whitehaven, but with three more than Hornets, the team directly below them.

These three clubs could find themselves locked in a battle for the last promotion place.

And as Oldham follow up Sunday’s crucial derby clash on home soil with a trek to Whitehaven on the following Sunday, July 1, everything could hinge on the outcome of their results in the next two weeks.

Roughyeds reserves, who have won their last two games against Halifax at home and York away, bid to make it three victories in a row when they go to Keighley Cougars on Thursday night (7.45pm).

The under-18s also play Keighley at Cougar Park on Saturday (2.30pm).