INSPIRED by assistant coach Lee Spencer’s bravery and devotion to duty, Oldham RL players rolled up their sleeves at Barrow, got stuck in and battled every inch of the way to win 22-0.
They dedicated the win to Spencer, who was at training as usual last Thursday only three hours after his head was split open by a falling metal ladder in an accident at work.
He had x-rays, 14 stitches in a deep gash and a brain scan, but he dashed from hospital to training where he performed his usual duties alongside head coach Scott Naylor and the other assistant, Peter Carey.
All three were at Barrow, but it was no easy ride for stitched-up ‘Spanner’ to whom Naylor delegated the additional job of talking to the media after the game.
“We like to set an example,” said Spencer. “The show must go on. Once I was out of hospital I was always going to training. Why wouldn’t I ? We’ve a big season coming up.”
The players did him proud at Craven Park but, like his boss Naylor on many previous occasions, he was quick to identify areas of the performance where there was room for improvement.
Said Spencer: “It was a big improvement on how we played at Keighley, but we need to improve again for the Law Cup game and then go up another notch for London Broncos in our opening Championship game.
“We were delighted to win without conceding and we were pleased by how we performed in the first 20 minutes. It was Championship rugby. In the run-up to half-time we reverted to League One rugby, but we talked about it at half-time and put it right in the second half.
“Our superior fitness on the heavy pitch was also evident in the second half, but we bombed three good scoring chances and we can’t afford to do that in the Championship.
“We were disappointed at how we executed. We need to improve our core skills to reduce the chances of that happening again.
“We’ve lots to work on, but the overview is that we were generally well pleased with our performance today.
“It was a good team performance and there wasn’t a bad show out there, but I felt Richard Lepori, Josh Crowley, Phil Joy and Danny Grimshaw were the stand-outs.”