HAVING beaten Eagles three times in their previous four meetings, Oldham were described by Sheffield boss Mark Aston pre-match as “one of our bogey teams.”
In this fifth encounter in our two seasons of Championship rugby, however, Eagles won the day thanks to a hat-trick by left wing Garry Lo, who took his tally for the year to 25 to cement his place as by far the highest try scorer in the second tier.
We travelled to Wakefield, where Sheffield are playing all their home games this season, with an injury-depleted squad, but one which battled hard and never capitulated. This was particularly evident in the second half when we outscored Eagles 16-14 and finished the stronger side with three unanswered tries between the 60th and 74th minutes.
Our undoing was some suspect defence out wide, particularly in the ten minutes either side of half-time when Eagles scored 28 points, including five tries, several of them from long range.
We went toe to toe with the home side for half an hour when we led 12-10 with tries by Adam Clay and Michael Ward, both converted by David Hewitt.
The lapses followed and when trailing 38-12 in the second half we looked to be in a tight corner, but the boys rolled up their sleeves and definitely rattled the home side with 16 unanswered points.
It started when Leatherbarrow took the ball to the line and put Adamson through a hole to score a try which the stand-off also converted.
Eagles began to concede penalties, this enabling Roughyeds to keep up their momentum when George Tyson was first to react to a loose ball after a Leatherbarrow kick ricocheted off Lo and rolled into the in-goal area. Leatherbarrow again added the goal.
Finally, Connor Williams did well to squeeze in at the corner after excellent work by his centre, Sammy Gee, on the approach to the line.
This time Leatherbarrow’s kick off the touchline looked as though the wind was going to carry it home, but the ball struck a post and bounced out.
Roughyeds remained on top for the last few minutes but then the Eagles left flank of Menzie Yere and Lo again showed their class in the dying seconds when the ball was quickly shifted out to them deep inside the home half and Menzie broke and kicked ahead for Lo to finish off behind the posts.
Scorers: Sheffield — goals, Brown (5); tries, Wheeldon, Yere, Hope, Owens, Lo (3), Spedding; Oldham — goals, Hewitt (2), Leatherbarrow (2); tries, Clay, Ward, Adamson, Tyson, Williams.
Sheffield: Owens; Blackmore, Spedding, Yere, Lo; Brown, Marginet; Wheeldon, Fozard, Mexico, Hope, James, Minchella. Subs: Burns, Straugheir, Trout, Scott.
Oldham: Nield; Clay, Tyson, Gee, Williams; Leatherbarrow, Hewitt; Burke, Hughes, Smith, Ward, Bent, Adamson. Subs: Wilkinson, Adebiyi, Ward, Davies.
Referee, G Dolan; Att: 329.