A TALE of three hookers dominated another first-rate showing by Scott Naylor’s men who were excellent value for their 16-14 win against Featherstone Rovers.
Kruise Leeming, on dual-reg debut from Huddersfield Giants, impressed in each of his two spells, which included a productive 40-20 in the first half and a match-winning blind-side break from the scrum near the end to set up a try for his Giants team mate Liam Johnson.
Gareth Owen, normally the starting hooker, was switched to left-side half-back and produced a man-of-the-match blinder in which he made the break that enabled Jack Holmes to put us in front for the second time 13 minutes into the second half.
Kenny Hughes, who replaced Leeming when the Giant went off after taking a high shot, scored the all-important first try from dummy half after Johnson had done the initial damage.
The 18-year-old Giants youngster was later to become the match-winner when he crashed over in the corner from Leeming’s short-side thrust to give us our fourth win in five games and our third in a row at Bower Fold.
Naylor rested Phil Joy, hitherto an ever-present this season, and began with Jack Spencer and Tyler Dickinson in the front row. The latter went on to enjoy his best game yet in Oldham colours before he was forced to quit with a dead leg in the second half.
Ian Hardman, the Rovers full-back, was then sin-binned for a professional foul and from the penalty under the posts Oldham mounted sufficient pressure for Hughes to score from dummy half. Lewis Palfrey added the goal to give his side a 6-0 interval lead.
Rovers came out for the second half in more determined mood and they were rewarded when Jack Ormondroyd made one of the few clean breaks in the entire game to put Hardman under the posts. Foster goaled and it was game on.
In the final half hour an enthralling game ebbed and flowed. Oldham went 12-6 up with the Holmes try — made by a superb break by man of the match Owen — and a Palfrey penalty goal.
The lead was to change hands twice more in a real thriller. Anthony Thackereay’s short kicking game near Oldham’s line was starting to give the home side a lot of anxiety and, sure enough, the visitors capitalised on their half-back’s skill and creativity when Misi Taulapapa touched down a slide-rule kick for Foster to level with the conversion.
A Foster penalty then put Rovers in front for the first time at 14-12 before Oldham finished with a flourish.
Leeming, now back at loose-forward, worked the blind-side from a scrum and Johnson finished powerfully in the corner to clinch a win which takes Rougheds above Whitehaven and out of the bottom two.