What a turn up!

Date published: Thursday, August 30, 2012

GATESHEAD Thunder beat Workington 24-22 on Tyneside last night to put Oldham on red alert ahead of their trip to Gateshead’s International Stadium on Sunday (3pm) in the last game of the regular Championship One season.

Incredibly, it was Gateshead’s first league triumph since they beat London Skolars 24-18 in March, 2010, ending a run of two and a half years and 64 games without a win against pro opposition.

Their magic moment came four minutes from the end when Tom Hodgson’s try, converted by Gavin Beasley, edged them into the lead and ultimately clinched the division’s biggest upset for years.

Prior to their 28-18 loss at Whitebank on August 19, Workington were firm favourites to top the league and pick up the £50,000 prize, but they look now like finishing third in which case they would host Oldham at Derwent Park in the first round of the play-off in the event of Roughyeds finishing sixth.

For that to happen Martin Roden’s men must succeed on Sunday where Workington failed —- and hope that Doncaster win at London Skolars, who currently occupy the sixth play-off spot.

“You can never take anything for granted in rugby league, as last night’s result from the North-East proved,” said Oldham’s caretaker boss.

Roughyeds have become the fourth club outside Super League to be looking for a new head coach following a parting of the ways between Whitehaven and their Aussie boss Don Gailer.

Rochdale Hornets and Dewsbury also have vacancies for a new team boss, while Oldham have drawn up a short list and chairman Chris Hamilton is currently in the process of working his way through interviews.

He will be at a day-long meeting of Championship and Championship One clubs in York next Wednesday to discuss various issues, among them proposals from the upper echelons of the sport to restructure the game at academy and under-23s levels.

Some Super League clubs would be encouraged to form partnerships with Championship or Championship One clubs and to extend and develop the dual-registration system which allows SL players to turn out for clubs in lower divisions.

Those proposals have been heavily criticised by Championship coaches Daryl Powell (Featherstone) and Mark Aston (Sheffield), while other clubs outside Super League have had talks with the RFL’s head of player development, Barrie-Jon Mather, to find out where they stand.

Said Chris: “This whole issue needs to be debated at length and in detail by all parties. There is always a danger that people might get the wrong end of the stick when items and proposals are leaked before everyone concerned has had the opportunity to digest all the relevant information.”