Trio come through under-20s test

Date published: Monday, April 28, 2014
FIRST-TEAM trio David Cookson, Mark Hobson and Steven Nield did all that was asked of them when playing for Oldham RL under-20s at Sheffield.
All three will now be pushing for spots in the senior side against Tony Benson’s new-look Oxford outfit at Whitebank this coming Sunday, May 4 (3pm kick off).
With no first-team game last weekend, coach Scott Naylor wanted loose-forward Hobson to play in the under-20s in order to improve his fitness levels.
Cookson was out for six weeks with groin trouble before returning to the side which lost at Hunslet on Good Friday and it was felt he needed another game to make up for lost time.
Nield, who is on the periphery of senior selection, will be hoping he did enough to earn another first-team chance in the Oxford game.
Speaking of their performances in an 18-12 defeat at Sheffield, under-20s coach Neil Roden said: “Hobbo (Hobson) played the full 80 minutes so that’s bound to do him good.
“The two centres (Nield and Cookson) also did okay, but we didn’t get as much ball as we would have liked and we had a lot of defending to do which took its toll in the second half.
“We’re improving gradually, but we will all feel better once we’ve got our first win in the bag .”
It was 6-6 at half-time, but Eagles scored two second-half tries to Oldham’s one to wrap up the game.
Forwards Richard Joy and Connor Partington scored Oldham’s tries, while half-back Tom Dempsey landed both conversions.
Roden said Widnes-born Dempsey, a 17-year-old half-back who previously played for Wigan’s academy side, did particularly well in difficult circumstances.
“Sheffield’s forwards ran at him constantly, but he never flinched and he stood up to everything Eagles hurled at him,” said Roden.
The under-20s are also at home this coming weekend, playing North-East Academy at Whitebank on Saturday with a 2.30pm kick-off, thus providing a double-header for Oldham RLFC fans on both Saturday and Sunday.