WE pulled off a tremendous 24-16 win at Sheffield Eagles to record our first away triumph in the KP Championship and a league DOUBLE (home AND away) against full-time professionals;
Said coach Scott Naylor: “I can’t put into words how big this win is for us in terms of the context of our season.”
He added: “We were top class from 1 to 17, but it was a special night for Craig Briscoe who, in his fourth game, played the full 80 minutes after being out for most of the season. Not only that, but he had a great game.”
We lined up like this: Lepori; Clay, Grimshaw, Gill, Chisholm; Palfrey, Owen; Joy, Foster, Burke, Briscoe, Langtree, Thompson. Subs: Ward, Hughes, Dickinson, Hope.
Sheffield took only three minutes to go in front. Matt James sailed through a big gap down the Roughyeds’ right side and Cory Aston went with him to score near the posts and then land the conversion.
We battled back, while staring into a very bright evening sun, and we deservedly squared up at 6-6 when Kieran Gill went in powerfully on a crash ball from dummy-half Lewis Foster near the Eagles line.
Lewis Palfrey added the goal and then nosed Oldham into an 8-6 lead with a penalty goal midway through the first half.
The lead was to change twice more in an action-packed first half. First, Sheffield grabbed the initiative again when, in a move bearing a striking resemblance to the first try, Adam Neal broke clear on our right edge to put full-back Quentin Laulu-Togagae in. Aston added the extras.
Playing inventive rugby on attack and defending stoutly, Oldham weren’t behind for long. Kenny Hughes, who had replaced Foster, found space to move from dummy half and scored an absolute cracking solo from the back of the play-the-ball from about ten metres out.
Lewis Palfrey goaled to give Roughyeds a 14-12 lead at half-time.
It was to go even better within three minutes of the restart when Liam Thompson put the finishing touches to a absolutely cracking try down our right flank.
Hughes, Thompson and Danny Grimshaw all handled at speed before ‘Grimmer’ put the ball back inside for Thompson to score. Palfrey’s goal made it 20-12 to Roughyeds.
Eagles introduced on-loan Catalans Dragons half-back Stan Robin off the bench for the second half and he was a constant threat every time he had the ball.
He kept Eagles in the game with a try in the 55th minute, but Aston’s conversion attempt hit a post and bounced out.
Trailing 16-20, Eagles then had a long period in the ascendancy, but Oldham defended brilliantly to deny the home side tries in both corners. On another occasion, and not for the first time, the hugely impressive Richard Lepori pulled off a crucial tackle on Robin.
Overall, Oldham were the better side and they went a long way to getting the win they deserved when Foster scored their fourth try with about five minutes left.
He took on a crowded defence from dummy half and with three defenders all over him, he managed to get the touch down. Palfrey, who had earlier kicked wide with a penalty, followed the lead set earlier by Aston and kicked his conversion against the post.
There was no more score as Oldham finished worthy 24-16 winners amid big celebrations at the final siren involving players and supporters alike.
Said Scott (Naylor): “We’ve to kick on now and look forward to our next game against Swinton Lions at Bower Fold on July 10. The boys just want to do well for themselves, the fans and the club.”
The Swinton game is another crucial one in the battle to avoid relegation and hopefully all roads will lead to Bower Fold.