Rugby League: Memory lane beckons for ex-Hornets points machine Paul Crook
Date published: 04 January 2018
Paul Crook, now with Oldham Roughyeds
Paul Crook will break a seven-year habit when he heads for the Oldham dressing room at the Crown Oil Arena on Sunday 7 January* ahead of the Law Cup derby clash between rivals Rochdale Hornets and Oldham Roughyeds.
*The game on 7 January has been postponed and rescheduled for Wednesday 10 January.
As the Hornets' all-time record points scorer, stand-off Crook, 31, will be back on his old stomping ground for the first time since leaving at the end of the 2016 season after playing a key role in Rochdale's promotion from League One to the Kingstone Press Championship.
He spent last season at Whitehaven before signing for Oldham, the club Rochdale fans love to beat more than any other side in the game.
Crook, once the darling of the Hornets crowd after amassing 1,499 points in red, white and blue to smash a club record that had stood for 82 years, will turn left instead of right on Sunday when he passes through the club foyer and into the corridor that houses the home and away dressing rooms.
He said: "It will feel strange to be in the visitors' changing room, but I am an Oldham player now and I have got a job to do for them.
"I am looking forward to it. It will be good to go back to Rochdale. It was a good club for me during my seven years there.
"The fans were always friendly to me and my family and that is something you never forget. It will be grand to see some old faces at a ground I know so well. There will certainly be no animosity, that's for sure.
"It is quite a while since I left so there will not be many of my old team mates still there."
Of the 25 players currently forming the Hornets squad, only Lewis Galbraith, Danny Yates, Joe Taira, Matty Hadden and Ryan Maneely were there with Crook in 2016 although Gary Middlehurst played at Hornets alongside him for a few seasons before that.
Crook added: "We are all looking forward to the Rochdale game on Sunday."