RFL disciplinary verdicts

Date published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012

FEARS that Oldham hookers John Clough and Danny Whitmore might get hefty bans following incidents in a fiery derby clash at Rochdale were allayed last night when they appeared before an RFL disciplinary panel in Leeds.

Clough was on a grade E charge — recommended punishment four to eight matches — but he emerged from the hearing with a two-match ban and a ¬£50 fine for pushing an opponent into a perimeter advertising hoarding after the final hooter had sounded.

Whitmore faced the prospects of a three-match ban on a grade C charge for sustained punching, but he escaped with one game plus a £50 fine.

In each case strong representation was made on behalf of the players by their club chairman Chris Hamilton.

Clough will miss Sunday’s Championship One game at London Skolars and the following Friday night’s fifth-round Carnegie Challenge Cup tie against his hometown club St Helens at Langtree Park.

Whitmore will be available for the cup tie, but will miss the game in London where Roughyeds will have to go into action without two of their three recognised hookers.

Martin Roden, the other hooker, and half-back Jamie Dallimore each escaped a ban after entering early guilty pleas on the relatively minor grade A charge of punching.

Club chairman Hamilton said: “In Danny Whitmore’s case we accepted he was guilty of punching, but we felt a grade C charge was excessive and did not reflect other things that had taken place in the same incident.

“The panel agreed and banned him for just one game which we felt was a fair representation of everything that had happened.

“We also submitted that a gade E in John Clough’s case was similarly¬†excessive, given the nature of the incident, some mitigating circumstances and John’s previous good record over his many years in the game.

“We got a fair hearing and once again the panel agreed with us that a grade E charge was excessive.

“They gave him a two-match ban which we considered to be fair in the circumstances.

“It was a bitter-sweet judgement for John because it means he will miss the opportunity to play in opposition to his younger brother Paul in the Saints cup tie. By the same token he accepts the suspension could have been considerably worse.”