THIS was the game, said Scott Naylor, which would tell him a lot about his players’ desire, mental strength and positive attitude in the wake of the second-half disaster at Summer Bash.
So what DID he learn from a 42-18 bashing at Batley ?
“Considering all the circumstances, I was quite proud of them,” summed up the Oldham boss after a fifth defeat in a row, four of them in the Championship.
Only Swinton Lions have won at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium in the league this season and Roughyeds went there with what Naylor described as a “busted side” with only just enough fit players and Lewis Palfrey turning out at full-back because dual-reg man Jared Simpson was injured.
Danny Grimshaw also failed to make it because of a groin strain after his prospects had looked promising up to a couple of days before the game.
Palfrey took every high ball thrown at him by Dom Brambani and Pat Walker, but the game ebbed away from the visitors after they conceded tries either side of half-time.
Said Naylor: “Batley is always a tough place to visit and especially this year when they’re going all out to finish in the top four for a crack at the ‘Middle Eights’.
“We came with a busted team and lads playing in positions they’re not used to, but after 35 minutes we trailed only 12-6 playing up the slope. We were very much in the game and things were looking good to go in at half-time only six down with the slope to be in our favour when we went back out.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t manage the game very well in the last five minutes of the first half and the first five minutes of the second half.
“We conceded two tries just before half-time and another just after half-time and it was suddenly 30-6, game over.
“We never stopped competing right to the end and we were rewarded with perhaps the best try of the game right on the final hooter.
“It was always going to be a tough test, but the boys put in a gutsy performance and now we have to be positive and look forward to next week’s game at Dewsbury Rams.”