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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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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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