Revved Up and Ready

Date published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013
OLDHAM RL are revved up and “looking forward” to their clash in Wrexham on Sunday with unbeaten league leaders North Wales Crusaders.

That’s the message from coach Scott Naylor as Roughyeds prepare for their biggest and toughest challenge of the season so far.
Crusaders, coached by former Welsh national boss Clive Griffiths and ex-Watersheddings favourite John Fieldhouse, stunned Oldham on the opening day of the season with a 48-12 Northern Rail Cup win at the Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium.

They have since won each of their six Kingstone Press Championship One games with an average per game of 40 points scored and nine conceded.

Their one tight win was at Oxford (12-4), but in their Welsh stronghold, where they have been pulling in the biggest attendances in the division, they have piled on 44, 52 and 66 points respectively against London Skolars, Gateshead Thunder and Gloucester All Golds.

Oldham’s record against those same three teams compares favourably —- three wins and scores of 30, 54 and 36, but with an aggregate ‘against’ of 38 against Crusaders’ 18.

Naylor’s third-placed young side, moreover, will go into battle against the ‘Invincibles’ (2.30pm kick off) as one of the form teams of the division with four wins from their last five outings.

Said the Roughyeds boss, after last night’s training session: “The boys are really looking forward to this one.

“They were bitterly disappointed with their own performances last time we went over there in the Northern Rail Cup and they are determined to do themselves justice this time.

“They want to be the best they can be, and then see where it takes them.”

Crusaders boss Griffiths, meanwhile, has warned his men to expect an Oldham backlash from what happened in the Northern Rail Cup.

He said: “Against Gloucester last time out we had a rush of blood to the head when we tried to force offloads.

“We got away with a lot of mistakes, but it will be a different kettle of fish against Oldham — a lot tougher — and we’ll need to respect the ball.”

Centre Phil Bickerstaff (torn knee cartilage) is out of the Oldham under-20s side to play Rochdale at Mayfield tomorrow (8pm) and may miss the rest of the season.

He was injured in the under-20s last game three weeks ago, a 36-24 defeat by York City Knights at Whitebank.