IN the absence of Paul Crook, rested for the first time this season, Dave Hewitt stepped up to the mark in our big win at West Wales Raiders by top scoring with 18 points from two tries and five goals.
‘Chewy’, as he is known to everybody in the Roughyeds camp, kicked his five conversions from seven attempts in the first half and then added his two second-half tries after he had surrendered goal-kicking duties to Kyran Johnson.
Kyran added four more, from seven attempts, in a 74-0 win which equalled our club record winning margin set in 2010 when we beat Welsh amateurs Blackwood 80-6 in a Challenge Cup tie at Sedgley Park.
Down in Wales on Saturday, our fifth league win a row was notable for several achievements, among them Zack McComb’s second consecutive try hat-trick; the 14 tries which took our total in back-to-back games to 27; another try by our free-scoring prop Phil Joy; and yet another match in which we were able to ‘nil’ the opposition.
That’s three times now this season — away from home in the league at Whitehaven and Llanelli and at home against amateurs Featherstone Lions in the Challenge Cup.
It might easily have been more too, given that we conceded only two points at North Wales Crusaders and only six at home to Hemel, who scored in the first few minutes in a 74-6 defeat.
The target was to go through the Hemel and West Wales games without conceding a try, but to let in only one in 160 minutes of rugby, while scoring 27 at the other end, was no mean feat.
Phil Joy’s late touchdown in Wales took his total so far this year to five and for a prop that’s not bad going with the season not yet having reached the half-way mark.
“It’s more already than I’ve ever scored in a single season,” he said. “I just seem to be in the right place at the right time to crash over.”
Back to ‘Chewy’ and his second-half brace in Wales also took him out to five for the season.
His razor-sharp support play did the trick, first in following lively Matty Wilkinson when he broke from dummy half and then getting alongside the impressive McComb when the centre broke free through a crowded defence midway through the second half.
The former Siddal man had a cracking game with ball in hand. He’s in a rich vein of form as six tries in two games will testify.
Hewitt is also looking far more confident this year and is considerably more likely to take defences on than he once was.
A word too about club skipper Gareth Owen, whose versatility and use of good hands has enabled him to switch comfortably from hooker to half-back so that first Hewitt and then Crook could be given a well-earned breather.
Roughyeds go into their mid-season break in third position in the league; with the second best defensive record; and on a high.
Roll on Doncaster at the Vestacare on June 3 . . . now that really should be a cracker.
For the record the try scorers in Wales were McComb (3), Hewitt (2), Reid (2), Eccleston, Hughes, Bridge, West, Wilkinson, Rasool, Joy.
Hewitt landed five conversions and Johnson four.
Team: Johnson; Eccleston, McComb, Reid, West; Owen, Hewitt; Joy, Hughes, Spencer, Bridge, Langtree, Bent. Subs: Wilkinson, Nelmes, Rasool. Briscoe.
Referee: Paul Marklove.