Ton up for O'Connor
Paul O'Connor, Oldham RL Club's Mr Consistency, is set to make his 100th cup-and-league outing for the Roughyeds at Gateshead on Sunday.
The 26-year-old full-back, who made his Roughyeds debut in 2006, has played in 82 of the club's 86 games since the start of the 2008 season and has picked up more man-of-the-match awards than any other member of the current squad.
"He's one of the most consistently sound performers, game after game, that I have ever come across," said coach Tony Benson.
Roughyeds will emerge from their mid-season mini-break --- 21 days between games --- knowing they can't afford to slip up in any of their remaining seven matches in their pursuit of the Championship One title and, with it, automatic promotion and a £50,000 winner-takes-all prize.
They currently lie in second place, three points behind leaders Hunslet Hawks but with a game in hand.
Preparations for Sunday's trip to the North-East begin in earnest this evening when several players will be hoping to be struck off the injured list after having had plenty of treatment, rest and rehab over the last two and a half weeks.
Forwards Craig Robinson (groin), Martin Roden (ankle), Wayne Kerr (shoulder),Jason Boults (knee) and Ben Heaton (thumb) hope to be cleared, but prop Luke Sutton (knee) may be given a while longer as a precautionary measure.
Halfbacks Neil Roden (foot) and Matty Ashe (hip) will also be looked at this evening, although, like Sutton, a final decision on the Kiwi may be left until later in the week.
The Reserves, beaten 36-12 at Whitehaven on Saturday, entertain Dewsbury Rams at Whitebank on Friday night (kick-off 7.30pm).
The game has been billed all along as having an 8.00pm kick-off, but Roughyeds requested the earlier start and Dewsbury were happy to fall in line.
Chris Hamilton, the Roughyeds chairman, has welcomed news that the club has been granted a full liquor licence for the Whitebank Stadium from the local licensing authority.
It means that, for the first time, Roughyeds can now sell alcohol inside the ground and that draught beer will be available in the clubhouse whenever it is open.
Roughyeds will definitely have the new arrangements in place by the time Swinton Lions play at Whitebank on July 11, but they are trying hard to do so in time for the Reserves game against Dewsbury this Friday night.
"The granting of this licence is another major step forward for the club," said Hamilton. "It provides us with another revenue stream we have not had previously --- extremely important in these difficult times financially --- as well as another facility for our fans."