Gilchrist doubt

Date published: Thursday, July 4, 2013

OLDHAM prop Liam Gilchrist, who has a slight calf strain, is doubtful for Sunday’s clash with Tony Benson’s Oxford at Iffley Road.

He was pulled off ten minutes into last week’s 44-12 away win against Gateshead Thunder in order to prevent any further damage.

He had treatment on Tuesday night and he will have more tonight before undergoing a final fitness test on Saturday.

Given that Gilchrist’s fellow front-row man Jason Boults is out for several weeks with a broken finger, coach Scott Naylor will be delighted if the former St Helens youngster gives him the thumbs-up.

Captain Lewis Palfrey and hooker-turned-halfback Kenny Hughes also picked up knocks in the North-East.

They were merely taken off as precautionary measures, however, and they will be cleared to play in the Roughyeds’ historic first-ever trip to Oxford (3pm kick off) where Naylor’s boys will be keen to avenge an 18-16 defeat at Whitebank in April.

In the seven league games since ¬†— four away from home — ¬†Oldham have been victorious six times, their only defeat coming when they were pipped 22-20 by table-topping North Wales Crusaders in Wrexham.

While accumulating 19 points from a possible 21 during that great run, and moving up to second place in the table, several players have shot to prominence.

Stats released by the RFL show that by scoring at least one try in each of the last six games, centre Jon Ford has the longest try-scoring run in all three tiers of the sport.

The 19-year-old’s 11 tries in those six games place him third in the list of Championship One try scorers behind Crusaders’ pair Rob Massam and Gary Middlehurst, on 14 and 12 respectively.

Adam Files (8) and Richard Lepori (7) also figure in the top nine.

Palfrey’s 39 goals put him second to Tommy Johnson of Crusaders, who tops the goalkicking list with 41.

And Lepori, full back, Ford, left cente, and Palfrey, stand-off, are all named in the mythical Premier Sports Championship One team of the week.

Eight former Oldham players were in Benson’s Oxford side which slumped to a shock 20-18 home defeat by bottom-club Gloucester All Golds last weekend.

Valu Bentley and his brother Andrew, a French international, played in the same pack and they are expected to team up again against Oldham.

Said Valu: “I’m playing my best rugby again, like I played in my first year at Oldham.

“I then had two seasons at Oldham in which I went a bit stale. I probably stayed too long, but I wanted to play for Tony Benson because he’s a good bloke.

“When he was sacked and got the job at Oxford he wanted to make me his first signing.

“I’m enjoying playing for Oxford and since my brother arrived it has made me step up my game again.”