Red and white hoops

Date published: Friday, March 7, 2014

LEWIS Palfrey says he will be proud to lead out the Oldham team on Sunday in the club’s traditional and historical colours of red and white hoops.

They were worn by Oldham teams for more than 100 years, but the last time was in the 1998 season —- the first year of Oldham RLFC (1997) Ltd.
Now starting its 17th season, the ‘new’ club was started from scratch by four local enthusiasts, headed by current chairman and owner Chris Hamilton, following the death of Oldham Bears, which went into voluntary liquidation with debts in the region of £2m.
“We’ve gone for a traditional red-and-white-hoops design for our home kit this year and we feel sure it will prove popular with fans,” said Hamilton.
Replicas are due in next week, but supporters can order them at Whitebank tomorrow, when the under-20s play Leigh (2.30pm kick off), or on Sunday at the Hemel Stags game (3pm) when Roughyeds stage the first of their ten home games in Kingstone Press Championship One.
Season tickets can be picked up at the refreshment trailer tomorrow and in the social club between 1.30pm and 2.30pm on Sunday.
Mo Agoro has been cleared to play against Hemel Stags at Whitebank.
That’s the good news . . . the flip side is that centre David Cookson may miss the next four or five games with a groin injury that is more serious than first feared.
“He might be out for at least a month — a real blow,” said coach Scott Naylor.
It was a similar injury that sidelined Agoro last week, but the winger will be strongly fancied to return to the side in Sunday’s first home game (3pm), although Naylor won’t show his hand until later.
He will pick from 19 — the 17 on duty in the ill-fated game at Maesteg, minus Cookson but with Ben Wood, Agoro and Mark Hobson all back in contention.
Backs (from): Whitehead, Agoro, Wood, Nield, Bloomfield, Gee, Palfrey, Robinson, Hughes.
Forwards (from): Boults, Whitmore, Files, Ward, Crowley, Langtree, Thompson, Mooney, Davidson, Hobson.
Of the 18-4 win in Wales, abandoned near the end in atrocious weather and because players reported hypothermia-like symptoms, Naylor said: “It was a non-entity. I couldn’t judge anyone, nor would it have been fair to even try.
“If I make changes it won’t have anything to do with our performance last week; more to do with what I think we need to beat Hemel.
“We’ve looked at how Hemel played when beaten 28-0 by Hunslet and I’ll name my side accordingly.”
After losing their first two home games in the league last season, Naylor’s new, young squad embarked on a run of 11 wins and a draw in their remaining 13 games of the regular season — a level of consistency the Roughyeds’ boss is keen to produce again.
He added: “We’ve talked a lot about our poor start last year and how important it is that we learn from that and don’t make the same mistakes this time.
“I would like to think we can pick up at Whitebank where we left off last year and produce a brand of winning rugby that our fans enjoy watching.”
Hemel finished a creditable fifth last season, their first at this level, but Roughyeds beat them home and away, 30-12 in Hertfordshire and 26-18 at Whitebank where the visitors deserved their bonus point.
They have since strengthened their front-row with the capture of experienced prop Dominic Maloney, ex of Dewsbury, Halifax, Featherstone and Hull.
Said coach Troy Perkins: “Oldham are among the favourites to win this league, but at Whitebank last year they only clinched their win late on, so we will travel with plenty of self-belief.”
* NEIL Roden takes charge of the Roughyeds’ under-20s squad for the first time at Whitebank tomorrow against Leigh Centurions (2.30pm).
Phil Joy starts his comeback after a long-standing groin injury and young forward George Tyson, here from Salford on season-long loan, makes his Oldham debut.
Team: Singleton; Buckley-Mayall, Taylor, Bickerstaff, Rookes; Dempsey, Flanagan; Wareing, Bell, P Joy, Tyson, Partington, R Joy; subs: B Roden, Boardman, A Joy, Sargeant; reserve, Turner.
Twins Richard and Andrew Joy are Phil’s younger brothers.
Said coach Roden: “I’m a little bit apprehensive because we haven’t had a friendly. We’re a new side playing together for the first time against strong opposition, but I’m anxious to get them out on the pitch and to see how we go.”