Team news

Date published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

SCRUM-HALF Matty Ashe (groin) and back-row forward Craig Robinson (dead leg) are the Roughyeds’ biggest injury worries as we prepare for Sunday’s fourth-round Carnegie Challenge Cup tie at Hunslet.

Neither was involved in last Sunday’s 22-16 win at South Wales Scorpions, where the Roughyeds extended their 100 per cent record in the league to five wins in a row. And neither will play in the cup-tie unless coach Tony Benson is convinced by the club’s medical staff that there will be no undue risk attached.

Matty Ashe

As first-choice scrum-half and goalkicker, with 88 points to his credit already this season (34 goals and five tries), Ashe has played a key role in the Roughyeds’ winning streak, but Benson will not be prepared to gamble on the fitness of his fellow Kiwi.

Ashe travelled to South Wales last Sunday, but there was never the slightest chance that he was going to play. The decision to leave him out for the first time this season, after nine appearances in a row in all competitions, was taken the day before when Danny Whitmore was drafted in as his scrum-half replacement.

“If we had played Matty in the Scorpions game he would certainly have missed the cup tie,” said Benson, “but, worse than that, reaction could have set him back and put him out for several weeks.

“We will assess him regularly as the week goes on, but I don’t want to take chances with Matty or with any other player for that matter and he and Craig (Robinson) were in a lot of discomfort at the end of last week.”

Prop Wayne Kerr was also sidelined last Sunday, but he is expected to be back in contention for Hunslet.

Numerous other players will be on the treatment table tonight (Tues) as a result of wear and tear caused by three physically-demanding games in ten days.

Mick Fogerty (neck), Marcus St Hilaire (knee and hand), Ben Heaton (back), Joe Chandler(back), Paul Reilly (back), Martin Roden (ankle), Paul O’Connor (neck) and Lucas Onyango (knee) will hopefully be fit by weekend if their injuries respond to treatment.

The BBC, who will be sticking with Oldham throughout their interest in the Challenge Cup, will film highlights of the game for the Super League Show, just as they did in the last round when Roughyeds ran up an all-time club record score in the 80-6 win against amateurs Blackwood Bulldogs from South Wales.

Roughyeds are planning to run a supporters’ coach to Hunslet at £7.50 per person, leaving Mecca Bingo at 12.45pm and the Black Horse, Ripponden Road at 1.00pm. Fans must book in advance as soon as possible by ringing the club on 0161 628 3677 or Joyce Pilkington on 0161 665 1832.

The Reserves open up their league campaign at Featherstone on Friday (8.00pm kick off) when winger John Gillam is expected to test out the shoulder he damaged in a Northern Rail Cup tie against Rochdale in early February.