Workington play-off beckons

Date published: Monday, September 3, 2012

OLDHAM will be seeking their third win of the season against Workington Town when they go to Derwent Park on Sunday (3pm) on the opening weekend of the Championship One top-six play-off series.

They won at the same venue 24-14 on the first day of the league campaign last March and then completed the double by winning 28-18 at Whitebank in caretaker coach Martin Roden’s second game in charge a fortnight ago.

“Those wins will count for nothing,” said Roden, “but there’s a good feeling in the Roughyeds camp as we head to the play-offs.”

Oldham finished in sixth place thanks to their runaway 56-12 win at Gateshead Thunder, while Doncaster smashed London Skolars 48-8 in the capital to push the Londoners down to seventh.

Added Roden: “We couldn’t control what Doncaster were doing, but we did our bit by winning well at Gateshead and we’ve been rewarded with a crack at the play-offs.

“It gives us another week, with a chance to go even further. The boys are up for it.

“There were a few bumps and bruises at Gateshead, but we had the ice packs out on the bus home and we’ll assess things on Tuesday night at training.”

Valu Bentley (calf) and David Cookson (thigh) failed fitness tests on Saturday morning and didn’t play at Gateshead where Roden called up young forwards Phil Joy and Sam Cunningham out of the reserves.

He described their respective performances — Cunningham started in the second-row and Joy made his debut at prop off the bench — as “fantastic”.

He went on: “During the warm-down on the pitch at the end of the game the other players gave them a round of applause and showed their appreciation.

“It’s all part of being a team — togetherness.

“I was made up for Phil Joy when he scored his try. It was my highlight of the game.”

Roden will have selection posers this week because two more young props, Jamie Acton and Danny Langtree, both showed up well in the previous game against Workington and will be available again after missing the game on Tyneside.

Acton was clearing a one-match ban and Langtree was away on a pre-booked holiday.

The play-off games this Sunday will be Workington (third) v Oldham (sixth) and Whitehaven (fourth) v Rochdale Hornets (fifth).

On Sunday, September 16, Doncaster (top) will be at home to Barrow (second); and Workington or Oldham will play Whitehaven or Rochdale on the ground of the highest-placed club.

The winners of Doncaster v Barrow will go straight through to the final on Sunday, September 30.

On Sunday, September 23, the losers of the 1 v 2 clash will be at home to Workington, Oldham, Whitehaven or Rochdale for the right to meet the winners of 1 v 2 in the final.