“Thommo” come back put on hold

Date published: Thursday, June 12, 2014
THE postponement of tonight’s under-20s game at Keighley has put on hold Oldham RL forward Liam Thompson’s return to rugby after injury.
Thompson (22) was in line to play his first game in three months at Cougar Park — the ground where he made a similar comeback last year.
Back then he played his first game for Roughyeds after shoulder trouble and three days later made his senior debut off the bench in a 36-0 win at Gloucester.
It was to be the first of his 16 appearances out of a possible 18 in his first season at Whitebank as he became a key member of the pack after a delayed start.
Fourteen months on he was ready to return in the under-20s after surgery to repair a fractured cheekbone, hopefully as a precursor to making another big impact at first-team level over the second half of the season.
Now, it remains to be seen whether coach Scott Naylor will hold him back for next Thursday’s second-team game at Featherstone or throw him straight in at the deep end against South Wales Scorpions at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm kick off).
Naylor will need a replacement in the 17 for the suspended Danny Langtree and he is known to be a big admirer of Thompson’s willingness to do the vital donkey work in defence that often goes unseen and unrewarded.
On the other hand he might consider it too much of a gamble to put him on the bench, given that he hasn’t made a tackle in anger since March 9.
Mark Hobson, another senior forward who hasn’t figured in the last few games, was also scheduled to play at Keighley.
Oldham were forced to seek a postponement, however, because of a major injury crisis at under-20s level which has been creeping up on coach Neil Roden for the past few weeks.
On more than one occasion he has had to go into battle without a full bench and he has been regularly using players out of position.
An already difficult situation became impossible to overcome on Tuesday night when new injuries emerged from the tough battle with the RAF at Whitebank last Saturday.
There were 12 on the casualty list in total and Roden was left with no option but to go for a postponement.
Said chairman Chris Hamilton: “Decisions like this are not taken lightly, but with so many players injured our hand was forced.
“The first thing we did was to inform Keighley and the RFL. The game will be played at a later date.”
* The Supporters’ Association (ORSA) is again linking up with Higginshaw ARLFC to put on a World Cup football and games night at the Higginshaw club next Thursday, June 19 from 7pm.
The opportunity to watch England v Uruguay from Sao Paulo will be the highlight of a fun-packed evening. Admission free.
More details from John McAndrew (07980129541) or Sheila Somerville (07904529797).