‘Gilly’ gears up

Date published: Monday, May 20, 2013

BIG prop Liam Gilchrist is getting closer to full match fitness as Oldham RL gear up for the most critical period of their Kingstone Press Championship One campaign.

Out for seven weeks with a calf muscle injury, he was back in the side which won 30-12 at Hemel Stags and followed up with two long spells on the field in the under-20s’ 36-24 defeat by York City Knights at Whitebank.
The first team had no game this weekend, but coach Scott Naylor was keen to give Gilchrist, Liam Thompson, Sam Gee and Steven Nield more game time so all four played in the second team.
Nield, at full-back, played the full game, while the three forwards each had two spells with a break in-between.
Of the four, Gilchrist was the one in most need of game time . . . and he came through with flying colours, watched by assistant coach Lee Spencer.
Said under-20s boss Phil Costin: “All four came through well. I was delighted with what they contributed. It was very professional.
“It was good to have them on board and it was certainly beneficial to the younger and less experienced players to have them in the team.”
Oldham currently lie fifth, but if they were to win their game in hand they would be in second spot behind unbeaten league leaders North Wales Crusaders.
Only Crusaders have a better defensive record than Naylor’s men, who have conceded 58 points at an average of a little more than 14 a game.
The team finishing top wins automatic promotion and the next five then play-off for the second promotion spot.
Having had three blank weekends out of the last five, Roughyeds now have a run of eight games on successive Sundays, the first two of them at Whitebank against Gateshead Thunder on May 26 (1pm kick off) and London Skolars on June 2 (3pm start).
Four of the next six are then away from home at North Wales Crusaders (Wrexham), South Wales Scorpions (Neath), Gateshead and Oxford.
Said Naylor: “I welcome a return to regular weekly rugby, but for now I’m not looking beyond the next two games, which are both at home.
“The priority for now is to focus on winning both those home games and picking up a maximum six points. After that we can re-assess where we are in the table.”
When Roughyeds go to the table toppers on June 9 they might be faced by Jamie Dallimore.
Released by Oldham at his own request a month ago, Dallimore signed for Crusaders in time to make a try-scoring debut in a 26-18 Northern Rail Cup defeat by Championship side Swinton Lions at Leigh Sports Village yesterday.
Said coach Clive Griffiths: “Jamie is one of the best half-backs in the division. He had other offers, but he chose us and I am delighted he did.
“A successful team at part-time level needs plenty of squad cover, not just for injuries, but for work commitments and other unexpected circumstances than crop up.”