SCOTT Naylor will take no great satisfaction from watching his Roughyeds side score 18 tries in a club record 102-6 win against West Wales Raiders, the side struggling at the bottom of Betfred League 1 without a win all season.
His charges did what they had to do — namely. return to winning ways after two narrow defeats and pile on some points to improve their ‘points for’ column in the table.
They’ve now scored more points than any other club in the division apart from the two above them, Bradford Bulls and York City Knights.
They have the second best defensive record behind the Bulls and the third-best points difference, again behind the top two but hugely superior to the clubs below them.
‘Points difference’ could prove crucial come qualification time for the end-of-season play-offs.
Currently, we are in third spot, having returned there from fourth thanks to this win and to Workington’s victory over Hunslet at Derwent Park.
We also established a record score, beating the 80-6 against another Welsh side, Blackwood, in the 2010 Challenge Cup.
Leading the way in the try-fest was teenage full-back Luke Hooley with four, followed with three apiece for Hewitt and dual-reg debut boy Jonah Cunningham and two each for Jack Holmes and Zack McComb, the Roughyeds centres.
Jack Spencer, dual-reg Jordan Dezaria, Lee Kershaw and Ben West also crossed the West Wales line, giving the backs 13 tries and the forwards five.
Paul Crook landed seven conversions from nine attempts in the first half before sitting out the second half when Dave Hewitt took over goal-kicking duties and kicked eight from nine shots, including two off the touchline.
With three tries and eight goals Hewitt piled up 28 points on his own, but he fell six points short of the individual record, shared jointly by Andy Ballard, Chris Baines and Lewis Palfrey, who each scored 34 points in 2009, 2009 and 2015 respectively.
The downside was a desperately disappointing crowd of 274 on another baking-hot summer’s day when, with some irony, the club’s biggest-ever all-time score was achieved in front of the all-time lowest attendance.
Oldham played plenty of free-flowing open rugby, often moving smartly from touchline to touchline.
They were particularly dangerous when Hooley, moving with the grace of a gazelle, joined up with the threequarter line to bring out the best in centres Holmes and McComb or to carve through himself for the try, as he did on four occasions.
Hooley and McComb were the pick of Oldham’s backs, while Spencer, Adam Jones and Luke Nelmes showed up well in the forwards.
There were two particularly exciting debuts too from Cunningham as replacement hooker and French boy Dezaria as substitute prop, both on dual-reg from Leigh Centurions
Cunningham, son of the famous Kieron, reminded older fans of a young Cunningham in a Saints shirt some years ago.
He was quick, nimble and aggressive when jumping out of dummy half and was far too good for the Raiders defence, as his three tries indicated.
Dezaria, strong and aggressive, offloaded cleverly the first three times he had the ball. Forceful on the charge, and with clever hands, he caused havoc in the Raiders midfield defence before he damaged a shoulder and was forced to quit after a very effective spell that lasted only 25 minutes.
Phil Cowburn’s kick-off and his first few restart kicks, drilled long, low and hard, had Roughyeds in trouble more than once.
And the home side conceded as early as the tenth minute when, as a direct result of those Cowburn kicks, centre Brad Kislingbury scored wide out on stand-off Steve Parry’s final pass and half-back Luke Williams added the goal.
Raiders didn’t look like scoring again until near the end when Cowburn was hauled back in sight of the Oldham line because the final inside pass from winger Matthew Davies was ruled to be forward.
Commenting on the game, Oldham’s assistant boss Peter Carey said: “No disrespect to Raiders, who kept going hard to the end, but it was men v boys really.
“From our point of view it was pleasing because we asked the players to do certain things and they did them right away and did them well.
“We also tried a few other things we wanted to work on and the lads did those well too.
“Raiders couldn’t cope with our speed and footwork and i thought Cunningham, Hooley and McComb were in great form.”
Team: Hooley; West, Holmes, McComb, Kershaw; Crook, Hewitt; Spencer, Owen, Davies, Bridge, Briscoe, Bent. Subs: Cunningham, Jones, Nelmes, Dezaria.
Referee: Jon Roberts; Att: 274.