Roughyeds ready for Skolars

Date published: Friday, May 14, 2010

OLDHAM RL boss Tony Benson has promised that London Skolars, Sunday’s visitors to the Whitebank Stadium (3.00pm kick off), will feel the backlash of his side’s defeat by York on the same ground seven days ago.

Benson and his backroom team have worked hard all week to lift spirits and to restore self-belief.

A last minute try gave York a 34-28 win to inflict the Roughyeds’ first league defeat of the season after seven wins in a row.

Benson’s boys began nervously, watched by the biggest crowd of the season, and failed to hit normal form in their history-making first game at their new home in Limehurst Village.

A bonus point took Roughyeds to the top of Championship 1 but the players still took defeat to heart on the club’s big day.

“They were really down,” said Benson, “but we are over it now. The boys are switched on and keen to redeem themselves for last week.

“We owe it to the fans, who turned up in numbers and with high expectation that we were going to win again on our big day.

“Skolars are improving week by week. They have brought in good players and they nearly beat Workington last time out.

“But we are very motivated and we are absolutely ready for them. Hopefully, we will reward the fans with a win.”

Mark Brocklehurst and Paul Reilly are added to last week’s 17, and both could figure because several players face late fitness checks.

The versatile Brocklehurst was 18th man last week while assistant coach Reilly was given leave of absence for family reasons.

Players to be checked out include three props, Dave Ellison, Jason Boults and Luke Sutton as well as hooker Martin Roden and backs Mick Fogerty and Lucas Onyango.

Still out injured are Neil Roden (broken toe), Marcus St Hilaire (back) and Valu Bentley (hamstring).

Team (from): Ashe, Boults, Brocklehurst, Chandler, Clarke, Ellison, Fogerty, Gillam, Heaton, Hodson, Kerr, Mansfield, O’Connor, Onyango, Reilly, Robinson, M Roden, Sutton, Whitmore.

Skolars have lost each of their nine league games, picking up two bonus points, and they have the worst defensive record in the division.

“We are under no illusions about the size of our task at Oldham,” said coach James Massara.

“We are looking forward to playing on their new ground, but we know exactly what we will be up against.

“We will have to build on what we did last week because we came out of that game very positively.”

Roughyeds remind fans that tickets can be bought at the Lansdowne Road office until 5.00pm this evening to ease turnstile congestion. They can also be bought in the clubhouse at Whitebank from 1.00pm on Sunday. The club opens at noon.