CENTRE Zack McComb goes into Sunday’s 1895 Cup clash with Whitehaven at the Vestacare Stadium (3pm) as one of Betfred League 1’s most prolific try scorers.
His 12 tries in nine games in cup and league this season place him way out on top of Oldham’s try list with double the number of his nearest challenger, full-back Ritchie Hawkyard.
Oldham’s top three to date in cup and league are McComb (12), Hawkyard (6), Harry Maders (5).
All but four of McComb’s 12 have been scored in League 1 where the centre’s eight tries in league rugby place him joint top with Hunslet’s Gareth Potts.
Hawkyard’s half dozen have all been scored in Betfred League 1 where he is joint third with Jack Miller (Keighley), Mo Agoro (Newcastle) and Alex Clegg (Newcastle).
Betfred League 1 (leading try scorers to date this season): McComb (OLDHAM) 8, Potts (Hunslet) 8, Heaton (Hunslet) 7, Agoro (Newcastle) 6, Clegg (Newcastle) 6, Hawkyard (OLDHAM) 6, Miller (Keighley) 6.
Interestingly, four of the seven play for or have previously played for Roughyeds, namely McComb and Hawkyard currently and Ben Heaton and Mo Agoro previously.
McComb’s rise from a Siddall amateur who, with two of his mates from that club, joined Roughyeds to do a pre-season with them in the winter of 2017/18 with a view to turning pro, to the accomplished League 1 centre he is today is quite remarkable.
His is a story that must surely be inspirational for amateurs in their twenties who have the drive, desire, determination and dedication to prove they can successfully make the step up to the part-time professional ranks.
Interesting, too, that Wakefield Trinity chairman Michael Carter referred on ‘Rugby League Back Chat’ this week to the progress young players Lee Kershaw and Titus Gwaze have made during their time on loan at Oldham.
Lee has been recalled by Wakefield and is now playing in their Super League side, while young prop Titus is doing well in the Roughyeds’ pack.
Said the Trinity chairman:
“We do what we think is best for each individual player. In Lee’s case they loved him at Oldham and Titus is doing well there now.
“The first thing he said to me when he had been there a bit was, ‘Wow ! What a difference it is playing against men’.”
Both McComb and Gwaze are among the 21 players who are available for selection in the side to face Whitehaven on Sunday when home fans could potentially see Danny Langtree and Danny Bridge in the same Oldham side for the first time since last July.
Replying to ‘Haven skipper Marc Shackley’s comment that the table-toppers have a point to prove, having been beaten in the league by Oldham early in the season, Roughyeds boss Scott Naylor said it was no surprise that he should talk like that.
“The only game they’ve lost was at Oldham and in their last four outings against top teams in the division they’ve taken seven points out of eight.
“They’re the form team of the division . They’re not scoring a lot, but they’re not conceding a lot either. There’s a way to beat them though and we have a point to prove to ourselves too.
“If we both play well it’s going to be close, but if we play well, and prove to ourselves what we want to prove to ourselves, we’ll be a very tough team to beat.
“It should be a cracker and we’re hoping our fans turn out in force to help us to make home advantage count.”