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Ed Smith forced into retirement

COURAGEOUS Ed Smith, the Oldham forward, has reluctantly called time on his rugby league career because of injury.

“It’s the right decision. We are 100 per cent behind him. We wish him well and he knows he will always be welcome back at Oldham,”

said club chairman Chris Hamilton.

Roughyeds took a chance on the former York City Knights captain in January, 2019 when he was out of the game, out of contract, down on his luck in the sporting sense and striving to regain fitness after the reconstruction of his shattered left knee.

He had played 130 games for York, his home-town team, when in 2017 at the age of 24, he smashed his anterior cruciate ligament. After major surgery, and a while out of the game, the knee let him down again while holidaying on a beach.

He faced another lay-off and a second reconstruction, but by January, 2019 he was living in Salford after he had been relocated from York to Manchester in his full-time professional career in banking. Roughyeds learned that there was a quality player out of contract on their doorstep, albeit currently injured, and invited him to the club for treatment and rehab.

Unannounced, he spent nearly six months with the Roughyeds’ medical team before, on a red-letter day in July last year, he got the all-clear to play again and made his Oldham debut at London Skolars as a substitute in a tight win on the final push for promotion. He played only three games at the back end of that season, but he was offered, and accepted, new deals for this curtailed 2020 season and also for 2021.

He was hoping to be getting stronger by the day by now but after doing a lot of solo running away from the club he has been forced to admit defeat and accept that his playing days are over.

He said:

“My knee didn’t feel right and when I spoke to the surgeon he said the reconstruction graft looked thin and there was a high risk of arthritis in later life or the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) failing for a third time.

“It was still a tough decision for me to make, but I’m sure it’s the right one. I have tried desperately hard to get to a position where I could play for a while longer, but it wasn’t to be.

“Things haven’t worked out, I’m afraid, but it wasn’t for want of trying. I did all I ever could do and the club was fantastic. I can’t thank the club enough for taking a chance on me and backing me when they invited me up nearly two years ago. I will forever be appreciative of that and I’m just sad that things haven’t worked out as we had hoped

“You reach a stage where you have to admit defeat. I can only repeat that I will seriously miss being part of the Roughyeds’ squad and club and I will be there next season urging on the boys as a fan.”

Said chairman Chris Hamilton:

“Ed and I had a long chat when he came to tell me of his decision. It’s a sad situation because Ed has been at the club a long time (nearly two years) and he has worked incredibly hard to give himself a chance.

“Nobody could have worked harder, believe me, but to then get a back injury and another knee injury was nothing short of cruel.

”I’ll never forget how he played at London Skolars. It was his first game for two years, but in a tough. hard, demanding game his commitment and his enthusiasm were fantastic. We always knew we would have a quality player if we could get him fit and didn’t he prove it in that match.

“We all thought then that the chance we had taken on him would pay off handsomely, but it hasn’t worked out and that’s not the fault of Ed. He is an intelligent guy and he knows the score about risks; what’s worth chancing and what isn’t. He’s got to think of life after rugby and the risks he is taking.”

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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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