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Oldham swoop for ex-York captain

OLDHAM have swooped to sign former York City Knights captain Ed Smith, a back-row forward who played nearly 130 senior games for his home-town club before suffering a serious knee injury two years ago.

He made his first-team debut when he was 17 and he was a regular member of the side by the time he was 20.

In the years that followed he rose to become a highly-respected and valued forward, playing 20 games in 2013, 23 in 2014, 28 in 2015, 26 in 2016 and 18 in 2017 before he smashed a knee and needed major surgery to repair an anterior cruciate ligament.

He was expected to be out for several months, but he suffered a major setback with the same knee and he hasn’t played since after undergoing a second reconstruction on the same joint.

Several months ago his job in banking took him to Manchester and he now lives in Salford.

Oldham got a tip that he was working hard to regain full fitness and invited him to join the club for rehabilitation and regular physiotherapy under the care of the Roughyeds’ medical team.

He has been looked after by Oldham since last January and has received regular rehab and physio throughout that time.

Two or three weeks ago he started training flat out with the squad. He has come through successfully and has been given the all-clear to play again.

He has signed a deal to the end of the season initially and with a view to a further deal if all goes well.

He started in rugby at York Acorn but was snapped up by the City Knights while still a boy and rose through the ranks to become club captain.

He said:

“I’ve been out of the game for two years, but I’m only 26 and I have really missed it. I had spent all my young life in rugby league and life wasn’t the same without it.

“Having moved to the Manchester area, I was delighted to be approached by Oldham, who offered to help me in my rehab and get me back to full fitness.

“I’ve been at the club for several months and I’ve been made really welcome. Oldham have been very good to me.

“For the past week or two I’ve been training with the squad and now I’ve got the all-clear. The lads are a great bunch and I’m really happy to be joining them.

“Two years is a long time out, but I’m really looking forward to playing again. I can’t wait.”

Head coach Scott Naylor said:

“We have been looking after Ed since last January thanks to the work of our medical team.

“He is fully fit now and available to play, which is perfect timing for us.

“He’s a good player, very experienced and he is very keen to play again.

“He has worked extremely hard to regain full fitness and he comes after playing at a good level.

“The next step for him is to regain his confidence and get back into the routine of training and playing regularly, hopefully proving that his injury problems are a thing of the past.”

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Club Cash

AS you all know from your own experiences these are tough times for everybody, but we believe you will agree that OLDHAM RLFC is taking massive inspiration from the fabulous NHS and other key workers in tackling Covid head-on, while looking forward positively to the 2021 season and better times ahead thanks to the outstanding work now being done to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, we have to face facts and be realistic enough to accept that the club urgently needs every pound that is currently coming in from whatever source. One of those sources is our Club Cash lottery and we would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who support us on this. A lot of you who used to pay our collectors on the doorstep have responded to our suggestions on how to pay by different methods and we are extremely grateful for that. Thanks again. You will never know how much difference your contributions make.

Alas, our income from the lottery has dropped by more than 50 per cent over the course of the pandemic and that would be a huge blow financially at any time let alone a time of unprecedented hardship because of the pandemic. It really is a situation we seriously need to address.

With that in mind the prize fund for the duration of the latest national lockdown will be temporarily reduced from February 10.

You will still be able to win a £1,000 first prize, plus £100, £50, £25 and ten £10 prizes every week, while continuing to provide vital support for the club and it will only cost you £1 a week. You can’t get a decent coffee for that, but the difference it makes to the club when multiplied a few times over and then multiplied again by 52 – the number of weeks in the financial year – is of major significance.

If you can help us at all — for £1 a week — it would be hugely appreciated by everyone with Oldham RL Club at heart. The prize structure still represents good value for money for an outlay of £1.

To those who are already members and help us accordingly, we very much hope to retain your support at this extremely difficult time.

Should you wish to play but don’t, due to the pausing of cash collection rounds, we have other options available, which you can discuss with our lottery administrator, John McAndrew on 07980129541 or from the club on 07904 898177.

Alternatively, you can send an email to: mcandrewj@aol.com or to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

The prize fund will be increased back to previous levels as soon as latest lockdowns are released. Please watch our website and social media platforms for further announcements.

Finally, if you want more information about the lottery or you wish to discuss your membership please contact one of the numbers given above.

A huge thank-you to you all.

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