Two-try Briscoe back on the right track
Friday 15th June 2018 10:49 Sports Posted by Mark Phillip

Scott Naylor has given the boss’s seal of approval to two-try Craig Briscoe’s performance in Oldham’s 60-0 win at Coventry Bears.

The 25-year-old former Leigh and Barrow forward passed a significant milestone in the West Midlands in his full recovery after a major reconstruction of a knee and a full season out.

It was his first start in nearly two years and only his fifth since he signed for Roughyeds ahead of the 2016 season and smashed a knee in a pre-season game at Barrow.

What’s more, he played the full game — a rarity for him since his injury — and he crowned a fine performance with tries in the 26th and 76th minutes, both on good distribution by Dave Hewitt.

“He had a good game — and he did it wider out as a second-rower rather than in the middle where we’ve been playing him previously,” said Scott.

“He had good minutes (all 80, in fact), his involvement was good and he scored a couple of tries.

“He’s been playing as a replacement prop off the bench, but this was his first start for a long time; his first second-row game for a long time; and the first time he’s done the full 80 for a long time.

“It must be two-and-a-half to three years since he did a full game and the reality is that he’s still getting used to playing again after such a long time out.”

In 2016 he played only seven times (four starts, three as a sub) and in 2017 he didn’t play at all as he recovered from a major operation.

Prior to the Coventry game, he had made nine appearances this season, all of them off the bench.

Added Scott: “It was very pleasing to see Craig playing as he did for 80 minutes and in the second-row.

“We now know he is fine there so that gives us more options and that’s got to be good.”

Also on the comeback trail, after a pre-season back injury, is prop Ben Davies.

It was his first run-out of the year at the Butts Park Arena where he scored the first of Oldham’s 11 tries and had three spells on the field after starting the game in the front-row with Phil Joy.

Said Scott: “It was good to see Ben back and doing so well. It was the right sort of game for him to make his comeback, but he knows better than anyone that he needs more rugby and tougher challenges than that.”

Scott will have some hard selection decisions to make in the side to play London Skolars at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday (3pm) when Roughyeds will be going for their eighth Betfred League 1 win in a row.

By Roger Halstead