New-date talks ongoing

Date published: Monday, March 30, 2015
OLDHAM and North Wales Crusaders are still talking about a new date for their iPro Sport Cup semi-final, postponed because of a waterlogged Whitebank pitch.

The other semi, Swinton Lions v Newcastle Thunder, was also a victim of the heavy rain that saturated pitches across the region over the weekend.
The final will be played at Blackpool on May 23 as part of the RFL’s two-day Summer Bash for Championship clubs, but there are no League One blank Sundays before then so no obvious dates for the rescheduled semi-finals.
“I’m in touch with Crusaders and with the RFL’s Ralph Rimmer (Chief Operating Officer), and an announcement will be made as soon as we have a new date,” said Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton.
The Whitebank tie was called off in mid-morning yesterday following a pitch inspection by Oldham-based Ian Smith, former Super League referee and now a leading full-time official in the RFL’s referees’ department,
The pitch was soft and holding water and Smith had no hesitation in ruling that it was unfit for play.
It means Oldham boss Scott Naylor can turn his attention to Friday’s tasty League One opener at Rochdale (3pm) without the burden of a five-day turnaround while derby rivals Hornets enjoyed a weekend off.
The old enemy have suffered comprehensive cup defeats by North Wales and Swinton Lions in their last two games, both away, and coach Ian Talbot has publicly condemned his players’ commitment and attitude.
Said Talbot: “Players are switching off and not doing the little things that are expected of them.
“There doesn’t seem to be any pride or a willingness to dig in for each other. It’s easier to pass the buck.
“I’m not getting the best out of this team at the minute and that is very disappointing.
“I’ll take it on the chin, knuckle down and keep working hard, but at the minute they’re not responding and doing what I want them to do.”