Two-match bans for Oldham trioDate published: Wednesday, May 20, 2015
LEAGUE One leaders Oldham will go into two of their toughest games of the season without Gareth Owen, George Tyson and dual-reg man Josh Johnson.
All three have been suspended for two matches by an Independent Disciplinary Tribunal for their part in the Barrow brawl, a 79th minute battle at Craven Park on May 9 when Oldham were beaten for the first and only time in League One so far this season
Players of both sides traded punches in a free-for-all that spilled over the touchline after Barrow had sealed a 30-18 win with a last-minute try in the corner by Liam Harrison.
The two players who were sent off, Oldham’s Owen and Barrow’s Liam Campbell, each posted an ‘Early Guilty Plea’ on a grade C striking charge, had it accepted and received the statutory two-match ban.
That facility was not available to Tyson and Johnson, who both pleaded guilty to similar offences and were given two-match suspensions and fined £75, Tyson on a grade B charge and Johnson on grade C.
It means the three Oldham players will miss the game at Keighley Cougars on Sunday week, May 31 and the clash with North Wales Crusaders at Whitebank on Sunday, June 7.
Like Oldham, Keighley have lost only one league game all season, at Swinton Lions, and North Wales Crusaders have already won at Whitebank this season, edging an 18-16 thriller in the iPro Sport Cup semi-final last month.
Oldham are strong at hooker, where they can replace Owen by starting with Kenny Hughes and having Adam Files on the bench, or vice-versa.
But they are not as well placed at centre where Tyson will be a hard act to follow, given that Tom Ashton is on the long-term injury list and loan man Jon Ford is no longer available, having been pulled back last month by his full-time employers, Salford Red Devils.
The Oldham club had previously expressed its surprise at what it called the severe grading of the charges and at Barrow having only one player on the mat, but it had no further comment to make when the suspensions were announced.
* Touch-rugby for all, run by Roughyeds and their community coach Danny Newall, continues tonight at Oasis Academy Oldham, Hollins Road, starting at 7pm. Cost is £3 per person for a two-hour session.