THE Oldham club would never be so bold or so disrespectful to talk about the possibilities of a points pile-up in any given game, but facts are facts and Roughyeds fans, if nobody else, will be looking for Scott Naylor’s men to significantly improve their ‘points for’ figures when they play West Wales Raiders in the RU stronghold of Llanelli this Saturday.
Discount Keighley Cougars, who would be sitting pretty in third place had they not started off on minus-12, and the Welsh side props up the rest with seven defeats in seven games and having conceded 326 points at an average of more than 46 a game.
In fifth place, out of 11, come Oldham, four points behind joint leaders Hunslet and Whitehaven and one of four clubs on six points.
Indeed, only four points separate the top seven and the way everyone is beating each other and jostling for position there is enough evidence even at this early stage of the campaign to believe that play-off positions or even automatic promotion itself could hinge on for-and-against differences and the slenderest of margins.
Political correctness, not to mention the dangers of motivating the opposition and ending up in an embarrassing situation if things haven’t gone according to plan or expectation, debars Oldham from shouting the odds. Humble pie is a strong antidote.
Nevertheless, Roughyeds will be no different than any of the other sides in the top half, all of which will be aiming to put a few points on the board notwithstanding a crack-of-dawn wake-up call for lots of their players and a round trip in the day of some 500 miles on a bus.
Last season Naylor’s men won 74-0 in the south-west of the Principality and followed up two months later with a club record 102-6 triumph at the Vestacare Stadium.
Luke Hooley scored four tries; Jonah Cunningham and Dave Hewitt each recorded hat-tricks; and other tries were scored by Jack Holmes (2), Jack Spencer, Jordan Dezaria, Lee Kershaw, Zack McComb (2) and Ben West; 18 in all.
Up to now this season Roughyeds have totalled 164 points at an average of fractionally more than 27 per game and while that compares favourably with the rest, four clubs have scored more —- Hunslet (192), Newcastle (216), Workington Town (172) and Keighley Cougars (180).
Up to ten days or so ago fans didn’t expect to see Danny Langtree and Danny Bridge playing in the same Oldham pack again, but there is every possibility that might happen this weekend with ‘Langers’ making his 150th Oldham appearance and Bridge back for the first time this season, having cleared his nine-month suspension.