Whitehaven 14 Oldham 6

WE slipped to a disappointing 14-6 defeat at Whitehaven after going 6-0 up with a Jack Holmes try, converted by Lewis Palfrey off the touchline, as early as the seventh minute.

We had enough field position, possession and half chances to add to our lead, but we didn’t execute as well as we have been doing and Whitehaven got their rewards for defending stoutly to keep us at bay by scoring a couple of converted tries to lead 12-6 at half-time.

In a messy second half of numerous scrums, 14 penalties (10 of them to the Cumbrians) and the odd kerfuffle or two, the only points scored came from a penalty to Whitehaven.

To cap a bad day at the office (what a contrast to the week before !), Gary Middlehurst was sin-binned near the end for a high shot and then Danny Langtree was assisted off the field with an ankle injury.

Suggesting his players were “a bit flat” after their heroics in knocking Super League outfit Hull KR out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup the week before, Scott Naylor said: “We didn’t seem to be at the races from the start of the game.”

We were soon in front, but thereafter we didn’t inspire any confidence in our ability to again bust open a strong ‘Haven defence.

Said Scott: “Whitehaven deserved to win. They looked like it mattered to them a bit more than it mattered to us.

“We were a bit flat and mentally tired after being on such a big high last week.

“Whitehaven is always a tough place to come to. You have to be 100 per cent switched on and on this occasion we were off the pace a bit.

“Perhaps it’s just a slight blip. We’ll be going all out this week to get over it and to play against Featherstone next Sunday like we did in beating Batley, Sheffield and Hull KR in the previous three games.”

‘Haven boss James Coyle, a former Oldham half-back, said: “I had seen a lot of Oldham on DVD and I knew they were a very good side. They’re a very tight group. They’ll run through concrete for each other and we had to match them in that respect if we were to beat them.

“We were missing a few regulars because of injury, but we played really well to beat a very good Oldham side.”

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