New Signing

Date published: Monday, June 11, 2012

OLDHAM RL new boy Colton Roche, who made his debut at Wrexham, is on dual-registration from Leeds Rhinos, initially to July 30.

To make way for him on the Roughyeds’ register, and to allow him to play in the 30-28 defeat by North Wales Crusaders, Matty Syron’s dual-registration agreement with Rhinos has been ended.

The signing of Roche, who will be 19 on June 23, was completed on Friday.

It was not the original intention for him to play at Wrexham, but he was called up for an early baptism when the unlucky Chris Clarke, due to return after five weeks out with a shoulder injury, pulled a hamstring in training on Thursday.

A second-row or centre, he signed for Leeds Academy in 2009, having previously played for Headingley Hawks.

He won representative honours with Yorkshire in 2008 and with England under-16s in 2009.

“The result was a disappointment, but I really enjoyed stepping up to first-team rugby,” said Roche, “and I am looking forward to the remainder of my stay at the club.”

Oldham yesterday fielded a maximum of four loan or dual-registered players — winger Chris Holroyde (Halifax), prop David Tootill (Hunslet) and loose-forward Lewis Reed (Keighley), all on loan, plus the dual-registered Roche.

Still missing through injury were Paul Noone (ankle), Paul Smith (hamstring), Clarke, Shaun Robinson (hand) and Lucas Onyango (hamstring), plus Jamie Dallimore, who still has one more game to miss in order to clear a three-match ban.

The loan agreements of Tootill and Reed run out later this week, while Holroyde’s agreement with Halifax expires on June 25, the day after Oldham’s next game against derby rivals Rochdale Hornets at Whitebank.

Said coach Tony Benson: “We’ve now two weeks now in which to regroup before the derby clash.

“I would hope that by then I will be able to pick from a squad that will be close to full strength.”

Roughyeds remain fifth in Championship One — one place, but now five points behind fourth-placed Whitehaven in the chase for one of the top four promotion places.

Five bonus points — three more than anyone else — have helped to keep Benson’s men in with a shout.

Sixth-placed Rochdale, three points behind Oldham, fancy their chances of finishing fourth, so a lot will be riding on the derby clash at Whitebank on Sunday week.