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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Workington Town's Jamie Thackray cleared for Swinton game

Workington Town’s suspended star Jamie Thackray has been cleared to face Swinton Lions tomorrow.

Jamie Thackray photo
Jamie Thackray

The club’s player of the year in their promotion campaign last term had been expected to sit out the match after he copped a two-match ban following their Championship One play-off defeat at Doncaster. But a rule change for the new season means he is free to tackle the Lions.

“Jamie is an ex-international and a big player for us. It’s a big boost to have a player with that ability in your team,” said coach Gary Charlton, who thanked the RFL for clearing him to play.

Town had been resigned to losing him for their Championship opener, believing that only one friendly – last month’s match at Widnes – could count against a suspension, leaving him one game to serve.

But an RFL rule change ahead of the new campaign meant two friendlies could be used to swallow up a ban, and the governing body accepted that Town’s informal run-out against amateur side Ellenborough last week would have been made an official game if the club was aware of the rule change.

Clubs had been informed of the change, though it is believed it was included in an email beneath other matters not relevant to Town, and not sent directly to club coaches.

A Red Hall spokesman said: “The Rugby Football League have agreed with Workington that their friendly against Ellenborough will count towards the suspension.”

Under the RFL’s fresh ruling, Workington’s new prop Jamie Acton, suspended for four matches at the end of last term, now has two games to serve.

Town will today name their team to travel to Swinton, with James Coyle and Brett Carter recovering from knocks.

“You would have liked to start at home, against a team from the bottom end of the league last year, but we are looking forward to the challenge,” Charlton said.

“Swinton are a handy team, and hard to beat at home, so we have to go there with the right attitude, fully committed, and we will see where that takes us.

“We are maybe a bit underdone in ball work because of the weather, but we are bouncing fit. The lads have trained really hard and shown up well in training. It’s time to put it out on the field.”

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