OUR Good Friday home game against Halifax was a tale of two halves — a very poor first 40, but a dominant second 40 in which we turned the game upside down. Fax won 42-28 in the end, but we certainly made a fist of it after half-time.
Looking nervous and prone to error we gave Halifax the perfect environment in which to put on a first-half show of strong, fast attacking rugby. They led 30-0 at half-time, but the scores would have been a lot closer if Michael Ward and Liam Johnson had scored when going agonisingly close and if a Halifax try on the stroke of half-time had been disallowed for offside, as it surely should have been.
Coming out for the second half we could easily have bottled it completely but, instead, we rolled up our sleeves, started to play with much more vim and vigour, got on top and scored five second-half tries to the visitors’ two.
Will Hope (2), Jamel Chisholm and Adam Clay all scored before, on the final hooter, Clay picked up a loose ball near his own line and went 90 metres, holding off three covering defenders, to dive over near the corner — a spectacular solo if ever you saw one.
In the end we fell short because we had given ourselves too much to do as a result of our poor show in the first half.
Said coach Scott Naylor: “In the first 40 we gave Halifax too much easy ball, too much field position and too many penalties.
“We gave them every opportunity to play attacking rugby at our end of the field and Halifax are too good a team to do that.
“Our performance was frustrating. We didn’t play intelligently. Having said that, we didn’t get the rub of the green.
“I don’t know what we are doing wrong in the ruck and what other teams seem to be doing right. We were penalised a lot. It was the same at Workington.
“If you are giving a lot of penalties away you’ve got to be outstanding in defence and we weren’t.”
Joe Burke made his debut off the bench and, for the first time this season, we had two dual-registration players in from Huddersfield Giants —- 18-year-old Liam Johnson in the second-row and 19-year-old Tyler Dickinson at prop.
Oldham scorers: goals, Steve Roper 4/5; tries, Hope (2), Chisholm, Clay (2).
Team: Lepori; Clay, Holmes, Ford, Chisholm; Roper, Grimshaw; Joy, Owen, Spencer, Johnson, Middlehurst, Hope. Subs: Burke, Ward, Hughes, Dickinson.
Ref, Tom Grant; attendance: 1,046