DESCRIBING conditions at Barrow as “among the worst I’ve ever known”, Scott Naylor praised his much-changed side, which included five trialists, for their honesty, effort and resolve in taking a tight game down to the wire.
Barrow won 16-6, but five minutes from the end they led only 10-6 and for much of the second half Roughyeds looked capable of snatching the lead without being able to turn pressure into points.
“It wasn’t a game for the fans or for the rugby league purists, but conditions were awful and I was really pleased with our attitude and effort.
In atrocious weather on a soggy pitch it was more like a good training session and a stiff work-out than a good match, but players like Craig Briscoe and Phil Joy, both coming back after long spells out with injuries and surgery, will have benefited enormously from getting good minutes on the field.
All five trialists did well and three of them (West, McComb and Barlow) played the full 80. Barrow is always an extremely difficult place for anyone to play their first game, let alone in conditions like there were here.
We matched Barrow in most elements of the game and there was nothing between us for most of the game.
In truth, we lacked some cutting edge when we had opportunities to score and that’s something we need to work on. But at 10-6 after 76 minutes it was wide open and it was anybody’s game.
That tells us that, going forward, we have everything we need in the departments of attitude, heart and desire. I don’t think we’ll have any problems there.
We need to improve a little bit in how we use the ball when we’re in possession and attacking our opponents’ line, but if we can improve in that respect we should be fine.”
At the end of the game, both teams and all three officials literally ran off the pitch and cleared it in seconds.
Added the Roughyeds boss:
“The game should have been stopped after about an hour. Player welfare is paramount and they were in danger of suffering from hypothermia. I think two of the Barrow lads needed medical attention in the dressing room.”
Oldham’s third and final warm-up game is at the much-improved Vestacare Stadium (formerly Whitebank) on Sunday (January 28), kick-off 3pm and after two highly-encouraging performances against Rochdale and Barrow, the club is hoping supporters will turn up in numbers as Naylor’s men return to their Oldham base after two seasons playing out of town at Stalybridge.