Rugby League: Crooks goes up to Oxford

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The Independent Online
The former Great Britain forward, Lee Crooks, has been given the chance to revive his coaching career with the ambitious Oxford Cavaliers.

Crooks retired as a player last season and has been out of the game since the end of his temporary role on Castleford's coaching staff.

Oxford, of the southern-based Rugby League Conference, have had talks with Crooks, whose vast experience they see steering them towards professional status.

The Cavaliers are joining forces with the Oxford Harlequins rugby union club in a major stadium development that will also strengthen their eventual case for Rugby League membership.

Halifax are not, after all, to bid farewell to their home for 112 years this weekend. Thrum Hall was due to stage its last match, a friendly against Huddersfield, tomorrow, but has been given a stay of execution.

Because the two clubs have been drawn together in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup next week, tomorrow's game has been called off. Any home ties in the Cup will continue to be played at Thrum Hall with a final commemorative game to be staged after that. Halifax will move in with Halifax Town at The Shay in time for the Super League season.

The club has been given a boost for the game with the news that their hooker, Paul Rowley, who was thought to have broken his hand, will be fit.

Keighley, who along with other First Division teams start their marathon 30-match season tomorrow, have dropped their High Court action against the Rugby League after being told that they will receive their full allocation of Murdoch money this season.

The Cougars have been made favourites for the title, which will be decided by a five-team play off at the end of the campaign, but Whitehaven and Featherstone, who meet tomorrow, look at least as strong.

Swinton Lions' former Welsh international prop, Mark Sheals, announced his retirement yesterday at the age of 31.