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New Deal for Unlucky Ed Smith

ROUGHYEDS are happy to confirm that unlucky Ed Smith will be back in the squad for the 2021 Championship season and determined to justify the faith the club invested in the former York City Knights captain when he faced a long haul back from injury in January, 2019.

Coaching staff and management acknowledge that 27-year-old Smith is a vastly-experienced and talented back-row forward or centre who needs only one thing to become a highly-valued member of the playing group — better luck.

He had played 130 games for his home-town club York when, in 2017, at the age of 24, he suffered a serious knee injury which needed major surgery to reconstruct the joint after damage to the anterior cruciate ligament.

Later, while on holiday and enjoying time on the beach, the knee let him down again and he had a second reconstruction to put it right.

It was in January last year, by which time he was living in Salford after a move from York to Manchester in his full-time career in banking, that Oldham received a tip-off that here was a quality player who was out of contract and keen to put his injury problems behind him and go again.

He was invited to the Vestacare Stadium where, unannounced, he spent nearly six months on rehab under the watch of the Roughyeds' medical team. When he got the all-clear to play again in July last year, he signed initially to the end of the 2019 season and played as a substitute in three late-season games, all ending in wins as Oldham raced to promotion.

His debut was in a hard-fought and tense 15-14 win at London Skolars on August 3, after which this website reported:

“Smith did marvellously well, considering it was his first game after two major reconstructions of the same knee; a two-year absence from the sport; and extensive rehab of six months or more.”

He kept his place in the 17 for the next two home games against Newcastle Thunder and Doncaster (two more wins) as Oldham crept ever nearer their promotion target.

Sadly, he hasn’t donned the Oldham jersey since then. First, it was reported that he was out with a rib injury and later that he needed a relatively minor operation on his other knee which he was able to get done while there were no games due to the pandemic.

He has now signed a one-year deal to cover 2021, after which he talked of his latest surgery and of his determination to emerge from his injury frustrations of the last three years and to enjoy a few more seasons in the sport he loves.

He said:

“The cartilage was damaged in this knee and the surgeon removed it rather than trying to repair it. Recovery is quicker and easier than that after a repair job, but you tend to get problems in later life. If I want to play again, and that’s a given, I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it.

“For now, I’m just intent on putting all these injury problems behind me and repaying the club and my team mates for the chance they’ve given me to strike back.

“I’m back in the gym and I’ve been doing a lot of cycling and a little bit of running. Matt (Diskin) is going to give me a personal programme to work on between now and the start of squad training again.

“I’m very conscious of the fact that I’ve been at the club since January, 2019 and most of that time I’ve spent in the physiotherapy room. It’s been a very frustrating period of my life.

“I’ve got to be true to the club, to my fellow players and to myself, but I’m sure I can do this and repay all the people at Oldham who have stood by me. I need to be out on the pitch with the lads and I’m looking forward to doing that and playing my part in helping the boys to enjoy a successful 2021 campaign.

Head coach Matt Diskin said he was very pleased indeed to get Smith’s signature on another contract.

He added:

“As Ed says, it’s been a very frustrating period for him during his time at the club. It’s also been frustrating for us because it is easy to see how much talent and ability he has, not to mention his desire and his determination to come through on the other side.

“You’ve only to spend a bit of time with him in training sessions to see his ability and his talent. He’s a very smart lad who can play, knows the game inside out and has a lot of experience.

“We’ve given him another chance because we know without any shadow of doubt that if we can keep him fit and healthy he’ll be an excellent member of the squad.”



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AS lockdown restrictions start to ease, now is the time for everyone connected with Oldham RLFC to do all they can to help with getting income from our Club Cash lottery back to where it was before the pandemic started to bite.

This is vital for the club and its finances which, as you all know, have taken a massive hit in the past 12 months.

Collectors will be returning to door-to-door visits in the next few weeks and we hope people who suspended payments will pick up where they left off as we strive and work hard to get back to where we were before the pandemic caused us to lose 50 per cent of our lottery income.

Many of our regular punters, who would normally pay a collector, have answered our calls for help by finding other ways to pay and to retain their chances of winning prizes.

To those people we are very grateful and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them once again for their loyal and continued support.

The lottery, of course, is potentially one of our biggest fund-raisers and for as little as £1 a week — more if you wish — you can help the club immensely and at the same time have chances to win £1,000, £100, £50, £25 or one of ten consolation prizes of £10.

That’s the present prize structure. There’s every chance it will be increased once we are out of lockdown, door-to-door collections start again and we get back to some sort of normality.

In the meantime you can join, or start up again, by contacting the club on 07904 898177 or by email to: enquiries@roughyeds.co.uk

For more information about the lottery, and for the “great opportunities” provided by our partnership with the National Youth and Community Development Association (NYCDA) go our Club Cash page.

There, you will find all the results and a detailed statement about getting back to normal with the help of our not-for-profit partners.

All proceeds from the partnership will continue to support the club and help us to meet the aims of our Club Cash activities, particularly in its aims and objectives to be an active stakeholder in the local community.

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