One hundred not out

Date published: Tuesday, June 29, 2010

PAUL O’Connor, Oldham RL Club’s Mr Consistency, is set to make his 100th cup-and-league outing for the Roughyeds at Gateshead on Sunday.

The 26-year-old full-back, who made his Roughyeds debut in 2006, has played in 82 of the club’s 86 games since the start of the 2008 season and has picked up more man-of-the-match awards than any other member of the current squad.

“He’s one of the most consistently sound performers, game after game, that I have ever come across,” said coach Tony Benson.

Roughyeds will emerge from their mid-season mini-break — 21 days between games — knowing they can’t afford to slip up in any of their remaining seven matches in their pursuit of the Championship One title and, with it, automatic promotion and a £50,000 winner-takes-all prize.

They currently lie in second place, three points behind leaders Hunslet Hawks but with a game in hand.

Preparations for Sunday’s trip to the North-East begin in earnest this evening when several players will be hoping to be struck off the injured list after having had plenty of treatment, rest and rehab over the last two and a half weeks.

Forwards Craig Robinson (groin), Martin Roden (ankle), Wayne Kerr (shoulder),Jason Boults (knee) and Ben Heaton (thumb) hope to be cleared, but prop Luke Sutton (knee) may be given a while longer as a precautionary measure. Halfbacks Neil Roden (foot) and Matty Ashe (hip) will also be looked at this evening.

Players have taken advantage of the mini-break to recharge their batteries and to spend time with their families.

Lucas Onyango has been home to Kenya; Wayne Kerr has been back to his native Ireland; and Chris Clarke celebrated his 21st birthday in Las Vegas.

“It was good for all the boys to be able to relax a bit,” said Tony B, “but we are back in full swing again now and looking forward to the business end of the season, starting a seven-game run at Gateshead on Sunday to the end of the regular season.

“A few of the boys will be checked out tonight and then I’ll have a better idea of how we stand for weekend.”