OLDHAM worked desperately hard and put up a gallant fight in a 12-6 defeat at Halifax in wet, drizzly conditions which didn’t help either side.
We’ve played on better pitches this season too and the net result was a defence-dominated game which produced only three tries in total — two of them the direct result of speculative crossfield kicks.
Despite another away defeat, Scott Naylor was in upbeat mood after the match because of the way Roughyeds played with so much grit and determination on a night when they went close several times to scoring a second try which, if converted, would have give them the draw their overall performance deserved.
“I’m proud of the boys tonight — very proud,” he said. “These boys will die for each other. If we continue to play like this, especially like we performed in the second half, we’ll be okay.”
Oldham were the more dominant side from the start, but Halifax scored on virtually their first sortie into the Oldham half.
A Gareth Moore crosskick was fumbled by Jamel Chisholm on the line and it left Matt Sarsfield with the easiest task of touching down for a try which Steve Tyrer failed to convert.
Oldham had what looked like a perfectly good try disallowed for a knock-on after Gareth Owen kicked to the Chisholm wing and Halifax immediately went to the other end where on-loan Sarsfield swivelled in the tackle and touched down for his second try of the game and his third in two games.
This time Tyrer added the goal to send Halifax in 10-0 up at the break, but most of the second half was dominated by Oldham, who forced numerous goal-line drop-outs.
They were rewarded when Owen’s kick to the left corner was brilliantly taken by Chisholm, who made amends for his costly earlier by soaring high into the air, catching and dropping over the line. Equally superbly, Sammy Gee kicked a terrific goal off the touchline.
Sammy was designated goalkicker because Scott chose to go with Owen and Danny Grimshaw at half-back. Owen had a blinder behind a set of forwards bolstered by the decision to go with five props.
It was game on at 10-6, Oldham pressing constantly and Fax restricted to going for penalty goals. They got one when we were put on a team warning for play-the-ball interference (strange considering the overall penalty count was 15-10 in our favour) and Tyrer kicked an easy goal from in front.
He was later to miss another one from half-way and then Gareth Moore was short with a long-range drop goal attempt — all indicative of how close and tight the game was.
We continued to strive for the equalising try and goal, but the home defence stood firm.