A TRADEMARK individual try by Dave Hewitt on the last play of the game earned Oldham a 22-22 draw at Barrow in the second of three pre-season warm-up games.
A new-look Roughyeds squad travelled to Cumbria without Nathan Chappell, Danny Langtree, Liam Thompson, Gareth Owen, Danny Grimshaw, Michael Ward and Kieran Gill and then Joe Burke withdrew just before kick-off with a sore foot.
Chappell (knee) and Langtree (hamstring) were never expected to play, while it was decided to err on the side of caution and take no chances in a ‘friendly’ with Thompson, who had a back problem, and with Grimshaw, recovering after a groin operation.
Owen and Ward were granted time off for pre-arranged family commitments and it was also known in advance that on-loan Gill wouldn’t be joining up from Castleford until the start of the season proper.
Burke’s late withdrawal meant Roughyeds went into battle with 18 players, including four dual-reg men from Huddersfield Giants in Gene Ormsby (centre), Daniel Smith (prop), Micky Wood (second-row) and Tyler Dickinson, who was on the bench.
Team: Turner; Clay, Tyson, Ormsby, Warburton; Leatherbarrow, Hewitt; Smith, Gee, Neal, Spencer, Wood, Davies. Subs: Chisholm, Dickinson, Nield, Joy, Hughes.
Right-wing Shane Toal scored the first four of Barrow’s five tries and his centre, Declan Hulme, got the fifth — all scored down Oldham’s left-side that, for whatever reason, was constantly outflanked by Barrow’s quick left-to-right shifts.
The home side led 8-0 before Roughyeds hit back in a strong spell just before half-time which yielded tries for Scott Leatherbarrow and Jamel Chisholm.
Leatherbarrow’s try was a superb individual effort in which he took on the defensive line from first receiver and glided through to score by the posts before adding the goal himself.
Minutes later, Hewitt’s superbly-weighted cross-kick to the left-hand corner was collected in mid-air by Chisholm, who scored a try which Leatherbarrow narrowly failed to improve from the touchline on a heavy pitch.
He judged the wind perfectly, but the ball dipped just below the cross-bar after initially looking certain to find the target.
Scott Naylor’s men led 10-8 at half-time, but the lead was to change hands another three times before Hewitt went in for his late interception try, which enabled Leatherbarrow to draw level with his kick.
Toal completed his hat-trick before Kenny Hughes crossed from dummy half. Leatherbarrow goaled again for a 16-12 lead.
In the next few minutes Toal crossed for his fourth and then Hulme added a fifth Barrow try which Lewis Charnock converted for a 22-16 lead.
The home side looked home and dry when Roughyeds erred in possession only 15 metres from the Raiders try line, but there was some confusion at the back of the Barrow scrum and Hewitt, as is his style, anticipated beautifully and raced through to pick up the interception and go behind the posts.
Leatherbarrow, who had failed with a long-range drop-goal attempt at 16-16, landed his third conversion from four attempts to level the scores.
The hooter sounded before there was time to restart.