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John Drake

12/05/13 - Kingstone Press Championship 1

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Discuss this week's games here:

 

Gateshead Thunder v South Wales Scorpions    13:00 at Blaydon RFC  
Hemel Stags v Oldham    15:00
Oxford v North Wales Crusaders    15:00
Rochdale Hornets v London Skolars    15:00

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Looking forward to my first trip to Oxford and Oxford should provide another stern test for Crusaders. If Crusaders win this one I can't see who is going to stop them this season!

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went last weekend and I've fallen in love with Iffley Road. If it's sunny there's nowhere better for a bit of RL. Who'd a thunk it?!

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After last weeks prediction successes;

Gateshead v SWS draw

Hemel v Oldham narrow hemel win

Rochdale v Skolars narrow Skolars win

Oxford v crusaders away win no bonus point

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PREVIEWS

 

Gateshead Thunder v South Wales Scorpions (1.00pm)

Gateshead Thunder coach Kevin Neighbour has urged his team not to let their standards slip after they claimed their first win of the season.
Gateshead won 30-10 against Gloucestershire All Golds on Sunday, but now face the challenge of backing up their efforts against South Wales Scorpions.
Neighbour said: “The key now is to make sure we repeat the same levels. If we do the right things, as we did against Gloucester, then we have to be in with a chance.”
Scorpions coach Dave Clark will name an unchanged squad for his side’s second away game in a week.
South Wales lost 39-20 against London Skolars last week, and Clark has called for an improvement in his side’s approach.
Clark said: “Mentally we have to improve. For the last couple of games, we’ve been in front at half time and then we’ve not done well in the second half.
“We know we’ll have to play well against Gateshead to win. We almost lost up there last season. The quality of play in this division is improving all the time so we know that any team can beat anyone on a given day.”

Hemel Stags v Oldham (3.00pm)

Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins has been left counting the cost of last week’s 23-22 defeat against Oldham.
Perkins said: “Our physio room looks like a casualty ward at the minute. We’d had a decent run of no injuries until a week ago, but we’ve been hit pretty hard now.”
Alex Ingarfield (head), Gareth Honor (ankle) and Ash Johnson (shoulder) are all likely to miss Sunday’s game against Oldham, while Chad Sharp is suspended.
Up to four more unnamed players will be given fitness tests on Thursday night.
Perkins added: “There’s a few blokes missing, but we’re lucky that we run a second team so we’ve got a reasonably big squad.
“The blokes we’re bringing in are pretty capable players that have just been waiting for an opportunity.”
Danny Whitmore could feature for Oldham, if the paperwork on a one-month loan deal from Batley Bulldogs can be completed ahead of Sunday’s match.
Oldham coach Scott Naylor said: “He’s a good listener, a strong athlete and a player with a great attitude and work ethic.
“We hope he will provide us with the kind of rugby we all know he is capable of.”
Naylor will select from a fully fit squad for Sunday’s trip south.

Oxford v North Wales Crusaders (3.00pm)

Oxford coach Tony Benson is facing a mounting injury crisis with at least five players set to miss Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship One clash with North Wales Crusaders.
Chris Clarke (broken ankle), Valu Bentley (calf), Alex Thompson (ankle), Martin Roden (shoulder) and Shaun Robinson (knee) are all ruled out as Benson tries to plot the downfall of the team he sees as the standard bearers in Championship One.
Benson said: “They’ve spent big and they’ve got everything they need. Anyone who was any good last year, they’ve bought for this year.
“We’ve all got different objectives. Theirs is to win the comp, while ours is to do well and grow the game.”
Andy Moulsdale returns for table-topping Crusaders, whose coach Clive Griffiths insists he will not underestimate Oxford.
Griffiths said: “Judging by their results, this is one of the most difficult tests we’ll get. Anyone with any complacency would be grossly mistaken.
“We go in with great momentum and so do they, so it’s going to be a great shoot-out.
“Oxford are where we were last year; we shocked a few and they’re shocking a few. We’re under no illusions.”

Rochdale Hornets v London Skolars (3.00pm)

Danny Davies is ruled out for Rochdale Hornets, while Alex McClurg, Dave Hull and Wayne English all face late fitness tests before Ian Talbot finalises his squad to face London Skolars.
Hornets are looking to bounce back from last week’s 35-18 defeat against North Wales Crusaders.
Talbout said: “We paid them too much respect from the start and we gave ourselves too big a mountain to climb, but we’ll take the positives because we then matched them for the last 60 minutes.”
He added: “London are going all right. They’ve got some big guys in the pack – Dave Williams is a monster – and they’ve got two good half-backs. Ade Adebisi has also been around a long time, so they’ve got threats all over.
“We’ll need to produce an 80-minute performance if we’re going to get the win.”
Skolars coach Joe Mbu could name an unchanged side from last week’s win over South Wales Scorpions.
Mbu said: “We’re reasonably fit and healthy, but going to Rochdale is going to be tough and I don’t take lightly anyone in this division.
“We know we’ll be in for a tough game and we’re under no illusions that we’ve got some hard work ahead of us.”

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Hemel Stags coach Troy Perkins has been left counting the cost of last week’s 23-22 defeat against Oldham.

typo? Freudian slip? Heh heh heh!!! Oxford were Oldham last year.

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Pity Oxford won't be at full strength for the game against Crusaders. Would have been an interesting benchmark of how good they are when up against one of the other sides in the top half.

Good test for Hemel as well this weekend as they play the other Oldham (!) side. I think they might just sneak it. How will the Oldham fans cope with the leg room in the Pennine Way stand ? They'll actually be able to breathe out during the game, rather than playing sardines like they do at Whitebank.

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Quite a few people seem to be getting green eyed about what Crusaders have achieved through their hard work and sound management in such a short time. We had Rochdales chairman sniping last week and now Benson is making excuses before we even play. He doesn't want to win though does he - just grow the game? If my information is correct his players are on more money than the Crusaders lads. I hope Crusaders stuff them now!

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our game sunday is a 2pm kick off, be great if we could get our 2nd win in a row though south wales wont be an easy game, though we are improving all the time, come on thunder we can win this! come on thunder! come on thunder!!

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How true is the conversations on other boards that Oxford players are on £500 a game (win, lose or draw) and the RFL are providing transport for the Oldham lads?

 

And where did Rochdale and Oxfords coaches get their "spending big" quotation from?

 

Anyway, my predictions:  4 close games this week.

Gateshead Thunder win, bonus point for South Wales Scorpions

Hemel Stags win, bonus point for Oldham

North Wales Crusaders win, bonus point for Oxford

London Skolars win, bonus point for Rochdale Hornets.

 

 

North Wales Crusaders will have their usual travelling army of fans as we did against Rochdale last week (over 100 Cru fans easily). Looking forward to my first visit to Oxford.

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Cracking game so far at Oxford. Hope they can take the second half and prove it won't be all plain sailing for Crusaders this year.

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Oldham beat Hemel by doing the basics well. 30-12 at full time.

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After last weeks prediction successes;

Gateshead v SWS draw

Hemel v Oldham narrow hemel win

Rochdale v Skolars narrow Skolars win

Oxford v crusaders away win no bonus point

Er ... I think it was 1 out of 4 right this time! 

 

Poor old Gateshead lost again.  Alas!  I was hoping they would manage back to back wins.  At least they were competitive, which is an improvement on past seasons.

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That is why I don't bet!

Er ... I think it was 1 out of 4 right this time! 

 

Poor old Gateshead lost again.  Alas!  I was hoping they would manage back to back wins.  At least they were competitive, which is an improvement on past seasons.

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Oldham beat Hemel by doing the basics well. 30-12 at full time.

Yeah, I thought Hemel should have got a bit closer; pretty sloppy at times. I was sat quite near to Troy Perkins and he was not a happy bunny - particularly when he wanted them to kick a penalty to bring the gap down to 12 and he couldn't get the message to the players!

Also, crowd was announced as 679 - did they count all the children playing in the minis tournaments?

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Thought the Stags were well off the boil today, Oldham didnt strike me as being fantastic but did what they had to do and good luck to them and their merry band of inebriated supporters. Was also near Mr Perkins and I'm surprised he didnt lose his rag with the penalty message as he repeated it about 10 times without anything being done about it - think I would have flipped my lid.

Anyway, a defeat sans bonus point but I'm sure if everyone at the club had been told they'd be 3rd after playing 5 games they would have snatched your hand off. Good to see a decent crowd down there and now if it  would occasionally get above freezing at Pennine Way we could have a lovely season ahead.

Keith from Bramley - thanks a lot for the literature and see you in July at the latest! Have fun at Oxford, cracking place.

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Also, crowd was announced as 679 - did they count all the children playing in the minis tournaments?

Yes they probably did. But what's wrong with that? If it helps promote the club then any positive message is good news.

Allowing for the kids then there must have been circa 500 paying adults.

I was sitting with Bob Brown and he was telling me that they are a bit disappointed with the crowd. I pointed out that the weather did not help. It really was cold there yesterday. The new stand gave very little protection and only the back three or four rows were protected from the driving rain.

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Yes they probably did. But what's wrong with that? If it helps promote the club then any positive message is good news.

Allowing for the kids then there must have been circa 500 paying adults.

I was sitting with Bob Brown and he was telling me that they are a bit disappointed with the crowd. I pointed out that the weather did not help. It really was cold there yesterday. The new stand gave very little protection and only the back three or four rows were protected from the driving rain.

I basically had to park in Boxmoor so there were a fair few people there when I arrived (and for most of the first half and just past half time) - a lot less when I left but, as you say, that weather really didn't help.

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Yes they probably did. But what's wrong with that? If it helps promote the club then any positive message is good news.

Allowing for the kids then there must have been circa 500 paying adults.

I was sitting with Bob Brown and he was telling me that they are a bit disappointed with the crowd. I pointed out that the weather did not help. It really was cold there yesterday. The new stand gave very little protection and only the back three or four rows were protected from the driving rain.

Agreed. I know of at least three people - my wife and children - who didn't fancy it because of the weather. Pennine Way is quite high up and exposed anyway, add sitting on that stand and it really does get quite nasty up there weather-wise.

Will be great when (if!) summer rolls round.

Oh and nothing wrong with counting the kids. It was just a question.

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Agreed. I know of at least three people - my wife and children - who didn't fancy it because of the weather. Pennine Way is quite high up and exposed anyway, add sitting on that stand and it really does get quite nasty up there weather-wise.

Aptly named then. All Hemel need now is a few old blokes moaning about the good old days and they'll be fully integrated.

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Well Oxford proved to be as tough an opposition as I thought they would be and put up incredible defence against Crusaders and got the bonus point I predicted and they deserved.  A smashing ground in a great setting with a historic club house. A very enjoyable trip with our fans although we do appear to have upset one Oxford fan on Facebook who compared us to a football crowd. I have not seem negative comments on Cru fans previously and the criticism comes as something of a shock.  I resent being compared to a football crowd; our fans are loud, proud and passionate but always humorous and respectful.

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I think in the early days you're going to get a bit of a culture clash. The Oxford fan in question is probably a Union guy who is finally seeing the light and isnt used to a more lively spectating experience. I got upbraided by an All Golds fan and received several more disgusted looks for making noise whilst they tried for a conversion with the scoreline still close. They'll all get used to our barbaric ways eventually

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I walked around the ground as the game was played at Oxford and had some good conversations with various people (London Irish shirts etc). Everybody I spoke to was new to Rugby League but all only had positive things to say. I think you are spot on Rascal Bongo Stork. I remember going to York for the first time with Celtic Crusaders and myself (From Salford) and supporters club chairman (From Doncaster)were having a noisy conversation as a York player lined up a conversion. Some of the Welsh lads who were newly converted from RU thought we should be quiet! They soon learned when they saw that opposition supporters did everything they could to put off out kickers. Not saying what is right or wrong here. Just pointing out the cultural differences.

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we came so close at 12-12 then eventually lost, happy we got a bonus point takes us to 5 points from 4 games that's the best for us in 4seasons apart from crusaders away our other 3 games 1 win and 2 very close defeats its a big improvement on past seasons for us and im so happy that we not getting a good hiding every game were competitive now and look a lot better team, we will improve further as season goes on, tough 1 next v Oldham away wont be easy for us though we'll be competitive once more im sure, roll on Oldham.....COME ON THUNDER! COME ON THUNDER!!

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