Thompson blow hits Roughyeds

Date published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014

LIAM Thompson, Oldham RL Club’s loose-forward, will be sidelined for several weeks because of injuries received in a clash of heads with team mate Kenny Hughes.

It happened during the Roughyeds’ first home game of the season — a 20-20 draw with Hemel Stags at Whitebank on Sunday.
Thompson (22) has suffered three fractures in the area of an eye socket and upper cheekbone.
He goes back to hospital tomorrow (wed) for further examinations and to determine whether he will need an operation.
The Thompson setback comes only a few days after coach Scott Naylor learned that centre David Cookson will also be out for a few weeks because of groin trouble.
This double whammy will be a blow for Naylor, whose squad of 23 will be effectively cut to 21 during a period in which the club will be juggling league games with the demands of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.
Roughyeds play Cumbrian amateurs Egremont Rangers in round three at the Copeland Stadium in Whitehaven on Saturday (3pm) for the right to go into the fourth round a fortnight later.
Sandwiched between will be a tough trip to London Skolars on March 23.
By way of compensation for the loss of Cookson and Thompson, Naylor will be able to call on a handful of players who have still to make an appearance in league action this year.
Back-row forward Mark Hobson, winger Mo Agoro and prop Phil Joy are all itching to make their mark, as are Salford youngsters George Tyson and the latest recruit from the Red Devils, 19-year-old centre Edwin Okanga-Ajwang.
The most experienced forward at the club behind Jason Boults, Hobson wasn’t involved in the first game in South Wales, but he was 18th man against Hemel.
Agoro was ready to play after groin trouble, but Naylor opted to make only the one enforced change of Ben Wood for the injured Cookson.
Prop Joy, 2013 player of the year, proved his fitness after a groin injury by playing in the under-20s game last Saturday, his first run-out of the year. Tyson (20), here on season-long loan, also played well in a Roughyeds shirt for the first time.
Naylor has already hinted publicly that the dual-registered Okanga-Ajwang might make his debut on the west Cumbrian coast.
Currently running with Sam Gee and Ben Wood at centre, neither of whom are specialists in that area, the Oldham boss says a centre shortage throughout the sport is a concern.
Jon Ford, a Red Devils’ whiz-kid, top-scored from the left-centre berth with 21 tries for Roughyeds last year, while on loan or dual-registration.
He has moved up in the world to continue his development with Championship side Sheffield Eagles, leaving a hole in Oldham’s back division.
Versatile vice-captain Gee has stepped into the breach, although most of his rugby in recent years has been at hooker, half-back or loose-forward.
Said Naylor: “Sam was a centre in his early days at Wigan Academy.
“It’s one of those positions for which players are not falling out of trees. I’m at a loss to know why centres are in such short supply. Perhaps I should bring out my boots again.
“Across the sport, a lot of back-rowers are playing at centre now and we are no exception.
“Sam, Ben Wood, Josh Crowley and Steve Nield can all play there without being centres.”