Reserves look for highest finish!

Date published: Thursday, August 11, 2011

VICTORY against Dewsbury Rams at Whitebank on Saturday (2.30pm)  will seal runners-up spot for Oldham RL in the Reserves under-23s Championship — their highest standing since the squad was formed in 2008.

It will also stretch the side’s unbeaten run to ten games and give John Hough’s men a huge play-off advantage over the four teams that finish beneath them, guaranteeing at least one sudden-death game at home.

“Go out and claim the prize,” will be coach Hough’s final instruction to his in-form players, who haven’t been beaten at Whitebank since leaders Widnes Vikings pipped them 50-40 on the opening day of the season last March.

Two games later Roughyeds were hammered 50-16 at Dewsbury — the second of only three league defeats all year.

“We’ve since squared things up by beating the other two, Widnes away and Leigh at home, and now we’ll be going flat out to avenge our heavy loss at Dewsbury,” added Hough, who will pick from a 19-man squad after fitness checks tonight on winger Zac Cotton (shoulder), prop Tom Wood-Hulme (back) and centre Matthew Fogarty (knee).

This is Roughyeds’ last home league game before the play-offs and they want to get the runners-up spot buttoned up before they head to Whitehaven to complete their league programme seven days later.

The squad comprises of the 18 players who were on duty in last week’s 42-6 win at Sheffield, plus strong-running centre or second-row forward David Cookson, who is back from a pre-arranged holiday.

Team (from): Nield, Cotton, Chetwynd, Brearley, Fogarty, Bridge, Dallimore, Connick, Langtree, Hughes, Gilchrist, Dean, Knight, Thomson, Brookes, Wood-Hulme, Barber, Joy, Cookson.

Fans needing transport to Whitebank from the Watersheddings/Waterhead end of town can travel free from The Junction Inn, Ripponden Road, leaving at 2pm. Ring 0161 633 2759 or email to: junctioninn@hotmail.co.uk

Roughyeds under-18s scholarship coach Phil Costin, meanwhile, has been appointed head coach of the Oldham Service Area under-18s who will be competing in an inter-town festival at Hopwood Hall on September 10, wearing Roughyeds jerseys.

Players nominated by local amateur clubs will train at Whitebank on four successive Wednesday evenings, starting next week, before the squad to go to Hopwood Hall is trimmed to 20.

“The aim is to see Oldham boys advancing through regional and national events and, ultimately, to win selection for Great Britain Community Lions,” said Service Area co-ordinator Chris Chamberlain.

Said Costin: “I’m looking forward to coaching these boys and playing at least a small part in further forging links between the Service Area and the town’s professional club, the Roughyeds.”

ORSA, who are doing a sponsored walk to Rochdale on Sunday ahead of the Hornets-Oldham derby clash at Spotland, are seeking volunteers to drive walkers back to Oldham after the game. If you can help ring Paul Whaley on 07796631192.