Injury Update

Date published: Monday, March 19, 2012

JOHN Gillam, the Oldham RL winger, has had surgery on a big toe following a freak accident at home.

It happened late on Saturday night and he was in hospital yesterday while his team mates were beating Gateshead Thunder 40-14 at Whitebank to go top of Co-operative Championship One.

Paul Ballard, a late replacement for Gillam on the Roughyeds’ left wing, scored two of his side’s seven tries.

Said coach Tony Benson: “I don’t know exactly what happened, but I took a call on Sunday morning to tell us that John was in hospital.

“By all accounts the injury was relatively serious and that was why he was operated on so quickly.”

Gillam trained with the squad on Saturday morning and was named in the side.

Added Benson: “I already had two wingers injured apart from Paul Ballard, who had been under treatment for a knee problem.

“He was one of three players who were on the verge of coming back, so I had to bring him in a little bit earlier than I would have done in normal circumstances.

“He didn’t know he was playing until 11.30am on the day of the game.

“When we phoned him he was busy renovating a house, but he packed up his tools right away and left to get ready for the game.

“He did very well indeed to come into the side like that and to score two tries.”

Three other players picked up knocks during the game.

David Ellison (shin), Mark McCully (hip) and Matty Syron, who needed three stitches in a cut above an eye, will all be checked out this week ahead of the Challenge Cup third-round tie against amateurs Egremont at Whitehaven on Friday night (8pm kick off).

Bruce Johnson was away on a course last week, but he could be back in contention for the cup tie.

Valu Bentley (knee) also hopes to be back soon, while Luke Stenchion (broken thumb) sees a specialist in Wakefield on Wednesday in the hope that he will be given the all-clear.

“I’m hoping for the best,” he said. “If the specialist isn’t happy about it when the cast comes off I might need an operation.”

Two wins from the first two league games have taken Oldham to the top of the division with a better for-and-against record than Barrow.

Roughyeds have the best defensive record in the division and only London Skolars, who put 66 points past North Wales Crusaders yesterday, have scored more points.

In a ten-team division only Oldham and Barrow have won two out of two.

“That says a lot about the division and how competitive it is,” said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton.