A SADDLEWORTH rugby player has been left on crutches after being speared by a 6ft corner flagpole during a match at the weekend.

Charlie Miller, 18, who is originally from Oldham but now lives in Mossley, spent three days in hospital after an opposing player kicked a flagpole which pinged out the ground with such force that it skewered him in the leg.

The freak accident occurred mere moments after Charlie had scored his first try for the Saddleworth Rangers during their game against Ince Rose Bridge in Wigan on Saturday.

The winger and former Blue Coat School pupil said: “I scored a try and stood up ready to celebrate and looked around and saw a six-foot pole in my leg.

“People in the crowd came over and got me on the floor and made sure the spike didn’t go further in. It went in about two inches.”

The fire service quickly attended and cut the pole down to a foot with a junior hacksaw.

Charlie, who is an apprentice at James Baron Plumbing and Heating in Greenfield, thought that they would use an angle grinder but was told that would cause the pole to spin too much.

Once in the ambulance destined for Wrightington Hospital in Wigan, Charlie asked whether his try would be converted.

It was once play resumed but Ince Rose Bridge went on to win the National Conference League Division One game 32-12.

Charlie described the pain inflicted by the injury as “not that bad” adding: “I thought I had just pulled a muscle. I was mid-stride when it went in.

"I think I was in so much shock that I didn’t really feel that much pain.”

In a stroke of luck, the pole missed all of Charlie’s tendons, ligaments, and arteries.

Reflecting on his time in hospital, Charlie said: “The staff were really good with me and calmed me down completely.”

Charlie is unsure how long it will take him to recover explaining: “It’s not like a muscle strain it’s like I’ve been stabbed.

"On Sunday I had to have surgery to make the hole bigger to wash it out.”

The accident has not put Charlie off rugby and he is keen to get back on the pitch once he recovers despite his mum’s apprehensions.

Charlie said: “I don’t think she’s best pleased.

"She didn’t want me playing rugby anyway because of the risk of concussion from injury.”

Leeds Rhinos legend Barrie McDermott called Charlie the ‘toughest man’ in rugby league following the incident.

He tweeted: “Toughest man in rugby league this week goes to Charlie Mills from Saddleworth Rangers that's some story to tell your mates in the club house.

"We salute you my man.’