Derby-day start for league campaign

Date published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

ON the back of three Northern Rail Cup wins in a row, Oldham Rugby League Club hope fans will be at Whitebank in numbers on Friday (3pm) for the start of the all-important Kingstone Press Championship One campaign against derby rivals Rochdale Hornets.

Scott Naylor’s men have beaten Hornets twice already this season, winning 22-20 at Spotland in the pre-season Law Cup clash and 26-10 at Whitebank in the Northern Rail competition.
Friday’s third meeting is the one of most significance, however, given that both clubs have set their sights on promotion to the Championship.
In a nine-club division and with only 16 league games to play with there is no margin for error and a good start to the campaign will be seen as essential by Roughyeds boss Scott Naylor and his opposite number, Ian Talbot.
Naylor and his assistant Lee Spencer, both in their first season at the club, have stressed publicly on numerous occasions what a positive impact it has on the players if fans provide plenty of vocal support, especially at Whitebank where supporters are so close to the action.
Added club chairman Chris Hamilton: “After our opening-day defeat at North Wales Crusaders, our players responded superbly. They couldn’t have done more than win the next three games and we are hoping the form they have shown will encourage more people to get down to Whitebank to support them.
“Scott (Naylor) has made a big impression at the club and anyone who has watched the team in our last three wins will have seen the results of his labours.
“Let’s hope Friday can provide a winning start to the league season in front of a good crowd.”
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On Monday there was no snow on the Whitebank pitch, which was perfectly playable.

Chris added: “We will obviously be keeping an eye on things, but we are looking forward to kicking off our league campaign on Friday against our closest rivals on a day which traditionally provides good attendances at sporting events.”.

Naylor will have selection headaches of a positive kind, particularly at hooker, half-back and in the centre.
Of his 22-man squad, only long-term injury victim Liam Thompson is thought to be unavailable, while Sam Gee, Lewis Palfrey, Michael Ward and Danny Samuel will all be hoping to reclaim their spots after being rested in the 24-12 win in South Wales.