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Roughyeds travel to buoyant Cornwall

THE Oldham team were leaving town today (Saturday) to make the 350-mile trip to Penryn in the south of Cornwall, after which they will have an overnight stay down there, ahead of tomorrow’s game against Cornwall at the Memorial Ground.

The game kicks off at 1pm, as do all Cornwall’s games, to give opponents more time to get home afterwards.

Roughyeds have been forced to make three changes in their 21-man squad with Luke Nelmes suspended and both on-loan Andy Gabriel and dual-reg youngster Harvey Wilson recalled respectively by Dewsbury Rams and Wigan Warriors.

The signing deadline for this season was on Thursday, but Oldham can still have Wilson when he’s not required by Wigan because he has already played more than six games for Oldham this year.

None of the other players we have had from Wigan on DR has played six games, so Wilson will be the only one available for the remainder of the season on such weekends when he is not on Wigan duty.

Coming into the 21 for Nelmes, Gabriel and Wilson down in England’s Deep South are Patrick Ah Van, Sam Bardsley and 20-year-old Kieran Tyrer, who was one of Wigan’s dual-reg lads hitherto, but has now signed on loan for the rest of the season, thus setting him apart from the change of DR rules once the signing deadline was reached.

Oldham set off for the long trip south with interim head coach Mike Ford in charge for the first time, having stepped into the role until the end of the season following last Monday’s departure of Stu Littler.

It will also be Oldham’s first game since they lost 21–8 at Hunslet three weeks ago. They’ve had blank Sundays on July 23 and July 30, so they will be going in cold, as it were, against a home side buoyed by a 40–38 win away to North Wales Crusaders last Sunday and the decision of vice-captain and loose-forward Jake Lloyd, an ever-present this season, to sign a new two-year contract.

A Leigh lad, Lloyd played for Leigh Miners in his youth, representing Lancashire and GB Community Lions at BARLA level, and is one of several northern lads with loads of rugby league experience in the Cornwall squad.

Don’t run away with the idea that Mike Abbott’s Cornwall are as green as the lush grass that makes Cornwall such a pastoral county; that they are full of Cornishmen who have played rugby union to a modest level.

That’s a myth.

Scrum-half Adam Rusling is unavailable tomorrow, but this former Castleford (scholarship) and Hull KR man, a native of Humberside, was outstanding in the win at Rhyl last week.

Cameron Brown, top try scorer with 12 in the league and 13 overall, is equal fifth in the Betfred League One charts and may well be switched from wing to half-back to replace Rusling. He’s a 23-year-old Aussie, a native of rugby-league mad Penrith, who has played all his rugby up in Queensland, mainly for Burleigh Bears in the Queensland Cup.

Full-back Liam Whitton (22), the club’s player of the year in 2022, has played for Sidddal, Leeds Rhinos Academy and Halifax; hooker Luke Collins is from Sydney; centre Coby Nichol, a Halifax lad, has played for Leeds Rhinos Academy and Bradford Bulls.

Roughyeds will need to be switched-on and ready to go — and no one knows that more than Fordy.

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