RFL verdict welcomed by both clubs

Date published: Wednesday, March 5, 2014
OLDHAM chief Chris Hamilton has described as “commonsense” the RFL decision to award Roughyeds three league points from their abandoned game in South Wales.
Scott Naylor’s shivering troops were 18-4 ahead against Scorpions at Maesteg when referee Adam Gill called a halt with eight minutes still to play.
Such was the ferocity of the wind, rain and sleet that both sets of players welcomed the chance to seek sanctuary in their dressing rooms — even though the Welshmen needed only a penalty goal to pick up a bonus point.
The RFL verdict that 18-4 should stand as a result, avoiding the need for a re-match, came as no surprise.
“Even so, it was a commonsense decision which we obviously welcome,” said the Oldham chairman. “It was the right decision to abandon the game and the RFL have acted quickly so as not to prolong the issue.”
Scorpions also accepted the RFL ruling unreservedly and thanked the governing body for their “quick confirmation”.
Wales Rugby League’s chief operations officer Chris Thair, meanwhile, has given fans an insight into how badly players were affected.
Among the Oldham players in trouble and requiring attention were Dale Bloomfield, Danny Whitmore, Brett Robinson and Kenny Hughes.
Said Thair: “Player-safety was paramount. Thankfully, there are always qualified doctors at professional games and along with the physios and other support staff, they made sure the players were in very safe hands.
“Adrenalin coupled with extreme coldness took many players to the brink of exhaustion and it was apparent in the second half that a lot of them were suffering from symptoms associated with hypothermia.
“Both teams had players on the floor of the showers and unable to move for 20 minutes or so after the game.
“A couple had blue lips and blue fingers and a lot of players reported a lack of feeling in arms, hands and legs.
“Thankfully, everyone made a full recovery.”
Frozen or not, Oldham’s Jason Boults and Sam Gee and Scorpions’ loose-forward Chris Vitalini played well enough to merit places in the Kingstone Press Championship One team of the week.
Boults, the oldest player in the Oldham side at 30, had a great game at prop, while Gee performed splendidly out of position at centre.
Top team: Sean Morris (Oxford); Callum Mulkeen (Oxford), Danny Maun (Hunslet), SAM GEE (OLDHAM), Andy Ballard (Hunslet); Pat Smith (York), Ben Hardcastle (York); James Houston (Hunslet), Craig Cook (Gloucester), JASON BOULTS (OLDHAM), John Oakes (Hunslet), Lamont Bryan (London Skolars), Chris Vitalini (South Wales).
Neil Roden’s second testimonial function, a Race Night, takes place in Wigan on Friday at the Body Image Fitness Centre in Hindley (postcode WN2 4HD). Admission is £5.
Roden will take charge of his first game as coach of Oldham’s under-20s squad against a powerful Leigh Centurions outfit at Whitebank on Saturday (2.30pm kick off).
Season tickets can be picked up at this game from the refreshment trailer and also from the Whitebank social club on Sunday between 1.30pm and 2.30pm ahead of the Roughyeds first home game of the season against Hemel Stags.