AS the cut-and-thrust quest for play-off qualification continued over the weekend, Oldham remained in third place despite their defeat at Keighley.
Roughyeds are the lead club of four on 22 points thanks to their vastly superior for-and-against record compared with Workington, Whitehaven and Hunslet.
Scott Naylor’s boys have the second best defensive record in the division and have conceded only 14 more than leaders Bradford Bulls.
In the ‘for’ column, they are well behind the top two, Bradford and York, but they’ve scored more than the Cumbrian clubs and Hunslet, producing a for-and-against difference that’s worth an extra point overall when compared with their nearest rivals.
Only the top two boast a better ‘difference’ than Oldham’s 403 which compares very favourably indeed with Workington (222), Whitehaven (175), Hunslet (107), Doncaster (261) and Keighley (214).
With 17 rounds completed out of 26 there’s still almost a third of the regular season to go with Oldham looking forward to four games at home and five away.
Assuming that either Bradford or York City Knights will fill one of the play-off spots that leaves six clubs chasing three places with Roughyeds currently heading the six.
Only two points separate Oldham in third and Keighley in eighth spot so it’s going to be a neck-and-neck fight to the finish.
Oldham’s attention now switches to this coming Sunday and the visit of North Wales Crusaders to the Vestacare Stadium (3pm kick-off).
Having enjoyed a run of eight wins in a row before injuries began to kick-in, Roughyeds need to quickly turn things round after a disappointing spell of form.
There’s good news on the injury situation, however, with Danny Langtree, Kyran Johnson, Matty Wilkinson and Matt Reid all said to be optimistic about being available again this weekend.
North Wales Crusaders, whom Roughyeds beat 30-2 in Wrexham in March, had an excellent 24-20 win at Newcastle Thunder yesterday (Sun).
Former Oldham half-back Steve Roper didn’t play, but winger Dale Bloomfield, another ex-Roughyed, scored a crucial try and took the League Express man-of-the-match award after a performance in which he was said to be ‘superb all afternoon’.
Latest results: Coventry Bears 20, Hemel Stags 18; Doncaster 102, West Wales Raiders 6; Hunslet 16, Bradford Bulls 36; Keighley Cougars 15, OLDHAM 8; London Skolars 20, York City Knights 22; Newcastle Thunder 20, North Wales Crusaders 24; Workington Town 22, Whitehaven 24.
Coming up: Coventry Bears v Keighley Cougars; West Wales Raiders v Workington Town; Bradford Bulls v York City Knights; Hunslet v Doncaster; Newcastle Thunder v Hemel Stags; OLDHAM v North Wales Crusaders; Whitehaven v London Skolars.