Oldham duo in All Stars

Date published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010

TAKE a bow Paul O’Connor . . . take a bow Neil Roden. Our two Roughyeds favourites are named today (Wednesday) in the 2010 Co-operative Championship One all-stars team and never can such accolades have been more fully deserved.

Paul has performed heroics at full-back in each of our 25 cup-and-league games this season, winning numerous man-of-the-match awards with his all-action displays in both attack and defence. He made his 100th appearance for the club at Gateshead on July 4.

His courageous tackling and excellent positional play have rescued Roughyeds on many occasions this year, but he has also underlined his attacking prowess by scoring 18 tries to share second spot in the club’s try-scoring charts with centre Mick Fogerty, both only one behind winger Lucas Onyango.

Neil, who has played 247 cup-and-league games for the Roughyeds, has had one of his best-ever seasons, providing the cool and cultured midfield creativity at stand-off which has been a hallmark of our success this year.

Both have played major roles in a squad that coach Tony Benson has guided to runners-up spot in Co-operative Championship One with 16 wins from 19 games (one still to play) to earn another crack at promotion via the play-offs for the fourth year in a row.

Significantly, Neil didn’t play in our three league defeats against York City Knights, Hunslet Hawks and South Wales Scorpions, all at the Whitebank Stadium.

Both players will clearly be serious contenders for honours when the Roughyeds’ senior squad holds its end-of-season player-of-the-year presentation night on Saturday, September 4.

Both too will have key responsibilities in Roughyeds’ play-off ties, starting with the visit of York City Knights to Whitebank on Sunday, September 12 in a tie which is expected to produce a near-capacity attendance and certainly the biggest Whitebank crowd since the club moved to the stadium in mid-season.

York centre Lee Waterman is also included in the all-stars team, in which O’Connor and Roden have pipped some strong challengers for the respective spots at full-back and stand-off.

The team is:

O’Connor (OLDHAM); Munro (Blackpool), Waterman (York), McHugh (Hunslet), Pryce (Hunslet); Roden (OLDHAM), P March (Hunslet); Hobson (Blackpool), Wood (Hornets), Dudson (South Wales), Stack (Workington), Ashall (Hornets), D March (Hunslet).

The Championship all-star team includes former Roughyeds players in centre Mick Nanyn of Leigh Centurions and second-row man Lee Doran of Widnes Vikings.

It is:

Royston (Halifax); Campbell (Batley), Nanyn (Leigh), Catic (Barrow), Worrincy (Halifax); Rooney (Barrow), Finn (Featherstone); Dickens (Featherstone), Crook (Sheffield), Hesketh (Batley), Grayshon (Featherstone), Doran (Widnes), Dale (Featherstone).

Liz Matkin, head of sponsorship at the Co-operative, said: “The 26 players named in the all-star teams represent the very best talent in the Co-operative Championships and we pass on our congratulations to all those selected after what has been an outstanding regular season in both divisions.”

Most of the 26 will be preparing for the forthcoming play-offs which culminate in Co-operative Championships Finals Day at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Warrington on Sunday, September 26.

For tickets for this prestigious event — the season’s highlight of Co-operative Championships rugby — ringthe RFL ticket office on 0844 856 1113 or go to www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk