OLDHAM RL admit to being “quietly confident” of staying up despite the 82-0 drubbing at Bradford and a 54-24 Bank Holiday defeat by Sheffield Eagles at Bower Fold.
Scott Naylor’s men have dropped below Swinton to third bottom, but with only three games left, Workington and Whitehaven are five points behind the Roughyeds and Whitehaven have still to come to Bower Fold.
Though trailing heavily, Roughyeds were put on a team warning at Bradford and then, at 66-0 down, had Gareth Owen and Gary Middlehurst sin-binned.
In yesterday’s home defeat by Sheffield they played the entire second half a man short after full-back Richard Lepori was given a red card for striking.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Eagles were awarded a try after winger Rob Worrincy had appeared to knock-on blatantly while attempting to gather in a Cory Aston crosskick.
Said Naylor: “I didn’t understand some of the decisions that went against us and I don’t seem to get clarification about questions I’m asking every week.
“We certainly don’t seem to be getting the rub of the green.”
Turning to his team’s performance, he added: “We led 12-0 and everything was going okay, but we then had one of those bad patches which we seem to go through in every important game.
“In terms of our toughness and our attitude we switched off for six minutes and we were suddenly 14-12 down.
“Then we had the sending off and we had to play a full-time professional outfit with only 12 men on the field in extremely hot conditions.
“The game had gone at half-time when we trailed 26-12 and faced the second half a man down, but in those circumstances I thought the players coped okay. They tried hard and never gave up and that’s commendable.”
Oldham have still to play Halifax away, Whitehaven at home and Dewsbury Rams away.
Workington go with Sheffield away, Bradford home and Halifax away,
And Whitehaven have Dewsbury away, Oldham away and Swinton home.
We started well against Sheffield, going 12-0 up with tries by Kieran Gill and David Hewitt and two goals by Lewis Palfrey.
We then hit a bad patch, conceding three tries in six minutes before having ‘Lippy’ sent off and then conceding two more tries — one of them a dubious one — before half-time.
We faced an almost impossible task in the second half, but we did have one good spell when we played some cracking rugby to register two more tries by Gill and Hewitt, each converted by Palfrey.
Oldham: Lepori; Clay, Johnson, Gill, Chisholm; Hewitt, Palfrey; Burke, Owen, Dickinson, Middlehurst, Langtree, Thompson. Subs: Blagbrough, Ward, Files, Spencer.
Sheffield: QLT; Blackmore, Chappell, Yere, Worrincy; Aston, Minichella; Thorpe, Carlile, Wheeldon, James, Straugher, Knowles. Subs: Fozard, Tyson, Neal, Mexico.
Referee: Tom Crashley; Att: 680.