At least three Oldhamers want Swinton Lions to win in the Blackpool Bash showdown —- Shaun Robinson, Ben White and Wes Rogers !
Wes, a former Roughyeds prop, is an assistant coach with the Lions; Ben (21), the Lions half-back, played all his early rugby at Saddleworth Rangers before going to Leeds Rhinos; and Shaun, a prolific try scorer on the Lions’ right wing, scored 11 tries in 27 games for Roughyeds in 2011 and 2012 after graduating from the Whitebank reserves.
He went on to play for Oxford, Dewsbury and Rochdale before arriving at Swinton last year to become the Lions top try scorer in their promotion year with 22 in 30 games. He has now signed a new deal to the end of 2017.
“To play against Oldham is always one of the season’s highlights for me,” said Robinson (26), an electrician who used to work for lifelong Roughyeds fan and former reserve-team coach Phil Costin.
“Shaun will be the first person I ring when we’ve beaten ’em,” said Phil. “He was good with the banter when Swinton beat us a few weeks back, so he can have some back.”
Robinson and Roughyeds forward Michael Ward are close friends and have been since they both played for Roughyeds’ reserves a few years go.
Said Shaun: “We’ll meet up before the game and again afterwards — and no doubt we’ll exchange a few words during the game.
“Whenever we play on opposite sides Mike goes out of his way to put a big shot (heavy tackle) on me, and I have to watch out for him coming so I can give him the slip and leave him for dead. I love that.
“Swinton-Oldham games are always spicy and feisty affairs and this one is sure to be the same.
“Both clubs need the points so it’s sure to be competitive, intense and physical. It should be a belter.”
Oldham need no reminding that, despite their awesome win at Hull KR in the cup and home league wins against Dewsbury, Batley, Sheffield and Featherstone, they’ve nothing to show from away games against their bottom-four rivals Workington, Whitehaven and Swinton.
On the Summer Bash big stage, this is their chance to redress the balance.
Roughyeds expect to be backed by a large following of fans in their first experience of Summer Bash, but if you can’t get to the game you can watch it on Sky Sports 3 via the red button.
An Oldham win would take Scott Naylor’s boys above Swinton in the Championship table, on the same number of points but with a better for-and-against record and also with a game in hand.