OF Oldham’s eight Championship defeats so far, this 48-28 loss against Batley Bulldogs at Manchester’s Regional Athletics Centre was the hardest one to take, said head coach Scott Naylor.
Clearly frustrated by the way his Roughyeds conceded 38 points without reply after building a 22-10 lead inside 20 minutes, Scott said: “If you constantly fail to get the basics right, like completing sets, you might as well go and play bingo.
“We let in some soft tries, conceded penalties and gave away a lot of field position. We just didn’t do it.
“When the team decides to turn up and they all have a go we can win games. We do it in some games, but not in others. That’s the most frustrating thing of all.
“If you make a mistake in possession you defend the next set vigorously. We didn’t do that in this game. It was much like how we played in London —- the desire and the steel were missing when we had to defend.
“They can do it. We’ve seen them do it. Some of the lads have been with me for more than five years so I know they can do it. Some do it all the time, but not everybody.
“If I could get everybody playing like I want them to play we would be hard to beat. You can’t win every time. All teams lose sometimes. There’s no disgrace in losing if everybody has had a dig, but that’s not happening with us just now, we’re leaking a lot of points.
“This is, without doubt, my most frustrating season so far. We can tell them what to do and send on messages, but if they’re not acted upon there’s not a lot else we can do while the game is going on.
“We talked at half-time about the need to complete our second half sets, but we lost possession in the first set after the resumption and they immediately went to the other end and scored the try that put them in front for the first time.
“When we invite teams into our half we don’t have the resolve to keep them out.”
Batley boss Matt Diskin said: “We were slow out of the blocks and, early on, Oldham scored some very good tries.
“The boys had their bottoms kicked at half-time and that seemed to make a big difference. From our perspective, the first half was quite alarming, but after the interval we were pretty good —- great in defence and clinical with the ball.”
Highlight of the first half was an Adam Clay hat-trick, but both sides made errors, conceded penalties —- 26 in total across the full game — and defended badly.
As a consequence, Roughyeds went 10-0 up; Batley levelled; Roughyeds went out to 22-10; and then the visitors again came back to square things up at half-time 22-all.
In the second half, however, it was all Batley as Oldham faded from the picture completely.
They scored 26 second-half points without reply before Roughyeds grabbed a consolation try by centre Danny Grimshaw in the last minute.
Oldham: goals, Scott Leatherbarrow (4); tries, Clay (3), Neal, Grimshaw.
Batley: goals, Southernwood (8); tries, Cowling, Farrell, Leak, Gledhill, Reittie, Brambani, Harrison, Lillycrop.
Oldham: Lepori; Clay, Tyson, Grimshaw, Egodo; Leatherbarrow, Owen; Joy, Hughes, Neal, Wood, Langtree, Spencer. Subs: Gee, Ward, Burke, Bent.
Batley: Scott; Reittie, Cowling, Bretherton, Ainscough; Southernwood, Brambani; Mather, Davey, Lillycrop, Mnning, Farrrell, Day. Subs: Gledhill, Leak, Chandler, Harrison.
Ref, A Sweet; Att: 578.