HUDDERSFIELD were given an unexpected bonus with the on-loan capture of highly-rated hooker Tom Doughty from Doncaster – only to then have it snatched away from them because he has a recurring shoulder injury.
So one week after impressing on debut, he now faces some time out while his injury is being assessed.
“It’s unfortunate both for the lad himself and for us, as he showed plenty of promise last week against Loughborough, particularly in the loose,” said Huddersfield’s Director of Rugby Mark Sowerby.
“Tom has been the third choice hooker for Doncaster for part of last season and this, and with him playing only a couple of games a month with their A team he really needs to be getting some game time.
“Fortunately, I know Doncaster’s Academy coach through my time at Wakefield and, having spoken to him, we thought it would be in Tom’s best interest to join us on loan, especially as our reserve hooker Franny Entressengle is away at university in Northumbria, and it’s a huge commitment for him having to come down here every weekend.”
Sowerby added: “Tom originally began his career at Dinnington, alongside our own Paxman twins, Ben and Lee, before moving to join the Academy at Doncaster, and obviously now he’s hoping to push for a place in their first-team squad. He is still only 21 and looking to make his way in the game.
“Hopefully we can help him achieve that aim by playing for us in the meantime.
“He’s been able to train with us only a couple of time so far, which showed with a couple of wayward deliveries in the line-out last week, but there is no doubting his ability as a hooker and in the loose, where he is definitely a powerful player.
“He got a bang on the shoulder against Loughborough which aggravated an old injury and Doncaster sent him for an MRI scan this week, so we’ll have to wait and see what the result of that is, but he’s definitely a good addition to our squad.
“Tom lives in Doncaster as does our South African Donovan van Vuuren, who also joined us from Donny, so it’s very convenient with them to travel over together.”
Ironically, with the injury knock to Doughty and a calf injury to regular No2 James Davies, Entressengle gets his first starting chance at Cleckheaton in the Yorkshire Cup game today.
He has proved an able deputy to Davies in the limited opportunities he has had when coming on from the bench.
But, as Sowerby admits, it is unreasonable to expect him to travel down from Northumbria every weekend, to perhaps only get on the field for the last 10 or 15 minutes.
The coach, meanwhile, is hoping a Cup win over Cleckheaton could perhaps kick-start his side’s season after a lean spell which has seen them lose six League games on the bounce and drop to 12th place in National II North.
Indeed, Huddersfield’s last win came way back at the beginning of October when they beat Fylde 22-15 at home.
“Although our focus has to be on the League, you cannot under-estimate the importance of a good run in the Cup,” added Sowerby.
“We have some crucial league games coming up and we need to target those for wins.”