HIGH-FLYING Oldham moved up to third in Betfred League 1 thanks to their 74-0 win at West Wales Raiders — their fifth league win in a row — and Hunslet’s 35-16 triumph at Doncaster 24 hours later.
Roughyeds made the six-hour coach journey to Llanelli in fourth spot, two league points behind third-placed Doncaster and with an 82-point inferior for-and-against return.
Their 14-try win, however, put them on level points with the South Yorkshire outfit and within touching distance of them when calculating for-and-against differences.
And it got even better when Hunslet then won 35-16 at Doncaster to see Scott Naylor’s men leapfrog Donny into third with an 11-point advantage on for and against.
It’s still tough at the top though with only two points separating third-placed Oldham and seventh-standing Whitehaven, who have a game in hand on the six clubs above them.
INTERESTINGLY, ROUGHYEDS CAN BOAST THE SECOND BEST DEFENSIVE RECORD IN THE DIVISION, HAVING CONCEDED ONLY 126 POINTS IN THEIR FIRST TEN LEAGUE GAMES — 15 MORE THAN TOP TACKLERS BRADFORD BULLS.
Latest results: Newcastle Thunder 16, Bradford Bulls 26; North Wales Crusaders 28, Keighley Cougars 46; York City Knights 90, Hemel Stags 0; Doncaster 16, Hunslet 35; Coventry Bears 4, Workington Town 52; West Wales Raiders 0, OLDHAM 74; London Skolars 26, Whitehaven 44.
Naylor said he would have liked more than 74 points in Wales to reduce a big for-and-against deficit when compared with top two clubs York and Bradford.
“I mustn’t be too demanding though, given that we’ve scored nearly 150 points in the last two games, while conceding only one try.
“We were a little bit loose at times with the ball, but on the whole we played well.
“It was good to get another zero in the ‘against’ column, the third time we’ve achieved that this year and the second time in the league, both away from home incidentally.
“The boys will be given a week off now for rest and recovery. Our next game isn’t until we play Doncaster at the Vestacare Stadium on June 3, but in terms of points and positions on the league ladder they don’t come much more important than that one.”
No new injuries were reported in the West Wales game so the only concern going into the Doncaster match involves experienced prop Adam Neal, who hasn’t played since he was concussed against Keighley in the middle of April — the first of the five straight wins.
He has another appointment with a head-injury specialist next week.