Six of the best in Under-20s

Date published: Friday, March 28, 2014
CLUB captain Lewis Palfrey is among half a dozen first-team squad members who will play for Oldham RL Club’s under-20s against Featherstone Rovers at Whitebank tomorrow (Saturday).
Phil Joy, Mark Hobson, Alex Davidson, Steven Nield and George Tyson will also turn out for the Roughyeds’ second team in a game which kicks off at 2.30pm.
Taking advantage of a blank weekend for the senior side, coach Scott Naylor wants first-team forwards Joy, Hobson and Davidson to sharpen their match fitness with more game time.
Tyson, a young back-rower on season-long loan from Salford Red Devils, is still waiting for his chance in the senior side and will be playing for the under-20s for the third time.
Nield, who has played full-back or wing in most of the first-team games so far, wan’t taken to London for last Sunday’s clash with Skolars and Naylor didn’t want him kicking his heels for the second weekend in a row.
Stand-off Palfrey, still looking for the form that made him an inspirational leader last year, asked for a run-out tomorrow and Naylor was happy to oblige.
Said the Roughyeds’ boss: “Lewis (Palfrey) missed four or five weeks of pre-season training, plus the friendly games, because of injury and then we brought him back gradually when the season started in earnest. 
“He hasn’t had a lot of rugby so far. He asked to play in this one because he feels he will benefit from it in terms of his match fitness and his general play.
“Steven Nield is also in need of a game, while it will benefit Phil Joy, Mark Hobson and Alex Davidson to play for longer spells than they have been getting in the first team.”
Like Palfrey, Joy also missed a lot of the pre-season graft because of injury. He didn’t play in the warm-up games and he also missed the first two league games against South Wales and Hemel Stags.
His first taste of senior action was off the bench at Egremont in the cup and he retained that role at London Skolars.
Featherstone will also field a strong side, both clubs having agreed to use up to six over-age players.
Oldham: Singleton; Dempsey, Nield, Bickerstaff, Whitfield; Palfrey, Flanagan; Joy, Ball, Davidson, Tyson, Partington, Hobson. Subs: Sargent, B Roden, Boardman, Haney.
Fans wishing to book on club transport to the fourth round Tetley’s Challenge Cup tie at Bradford on Sunday week can do so at the under-20s game tomorrow. Cost is £12, payment by cash or cheque.
Staff will also be available to take bookings and payment at Whitebank between 10am and 1.30pm today and between the same times on Monday and Tuesday.
* Injury-hit Hunslet Hawks have signed two of Super League’s top forwards, Ryan Bailey and Chris Clarkson of Leeds Rhinos, on dual registration to play against London Skolars on Sunday.
Hawks say they have seven first-team regulars out of action, including former Oldham brothers James and Thomas Coyle.
They cancelled Tuesday’s training session because of lack of numbers.
Said club official Darren Williams: “Skolars have a pack that’s full of pace and aggression. For us to include players of the calibre of Bailey and Clarkson when in need is surely what dual registration and our partnership with Leeds Rhinos is alll about.”