Ford injury blow

Date published: Monday, August 5, 2013

JON Ford, Oldham’s leading try scorer, is likely to miss the rest of the season after dislocating his left elbow in the win at London Skolars.

The 19-year-old, on dual registration from Salford City Reds, was left in agony after making a strong tackle with Roughyeds under heavy pressure in the last few minutes of the game.

Roughyeds physiotherapist Rachel Johnson and the home club’s duty doctor attended to him at the side of the pitch for a considerable time after the game ended before he was taken by car to North Middlesex Hospital.

Club officials were told later that there was no fracture to arm or wrist, as was initially feared, although the severity of the dislocation would probably mean his season was over.

St Helens-born Ford has played most of the season for Oldham, either on dual registration or loan, and his 15 tries have included hat-tricks at Gateshead and at home to title rivals North Wales and a four-try performance in the win at South Wales in mid-June.

The loss of such a prolific try scorer will be seen as a setback to a club aiming for promotion, although the blow will be eased by the return to training this week of David Cookson.

After missing the last two games for family reasons Cookson will be available for selection for Sunday’s final home game of the regular season against Gloucester All Golds.

So too will be versatile new signing Tom Whitehead, who had an impressive debut against North Wales Crusaders but wasn’t in the 17 at London Skolars yesterday.

Whitehead played full-back against Crusaders because the regular last line of defence, Richard Lepori, was on international duty with Italy, for whom he scored three tries against Germany.

He was back for Roughyeds in the 44-24 win in North London where he scored his second hat-trick in nine days.

Said coach Scott Naylor: “To go to London without Tom Whitehead was a tough decision, but as ‘Lippy’ (Lepori) missed the Crusaders game because he had been honoured by Italy it was no reason to keep him out of the side in London.

“I did consider including Whitehead in the 17 and perhaps giving him a run at half-back, but that would have put him under enormous pressure in a key position in what we knew would be one of our most demanding games of the season.”

Roughyeds came through it with a 44-24 win which maintains their five-point lead at the top of Championship One and keeps up the pressure on second-placed North Wales, who have two games in hand.