DAN Abram made a dream start to the new year, the new decade and to life at his latest club by scoring two tries in four glitzy minutes as Oldham turned on the razzle-dazzle in the opening quarter at Barrow.
Having been previously allocated the No 1 shirt in new head coach Matt Diskin’s squad-numbering system, the young full-back lived up to his status by exploding on to the Craven Park scene with tries against a former club in the tenth minute and then the 14th minute.
For his first try he burst on to scrum-half Dave Hewitt’s partially-concealed pass to accelerate through a caught-out defence and score a beauty, which he then improved by adding the goal.
As Roughyeds continued to chuck the slippy ball around to great affect, Abram struck next on the other side of the field. Gareth Owen’s long, raking pass from dummy half gave the full-back a bit of space and in the twinkle of an eye he was away again to score.
With his dad Darren, the former Oldham centre, standing on the terraces, Abram jnr then kicked his second goal to record the Roughyeds’ first dozen points of the year and the first of the decade.
It was one-way traffic early on and Oldham went close again when Danny Langtree sent James Worthington away. He put in a clever kick for his winger, Dec Kay, who forced a drop out.
From there, Diskin’s men again employed the Hewitt-Abram link and then the ball was shipped left via Danny Bridge and Cam Leeming before Harry Aaronson finished off in the corner.
He had a lot to do to beat the cover but he ghosted inside and then back out a second time before scoring just inside the flag. This time Abram’s kick was wide.
Hewitt, Abram and Bridge almost got Aaronson in again, but the visitors’ authority was soon to disappear following the start of substitutions and, with it, a spell in which Roughyeds lost their early composure.
Handling mistakes began to creep in, as did infringements, and Barrow responded with a Ryan Johnstone try which Jamie Dallimore improved.
Barrow had good ball and territory for the first time in the game and to compound their problems the visitors conceded four penalties in a row.
Declan Hulme scored the next Barrow try; Dallimore kicked the goal; and then,after the half-time hooter had blown, he landed a wind-assisted penalty goal from just inside the Barrow half to reduce the deficit to 16-14 at half-time.
Roughyeds looked more settled on the resumption and they looked like building on their slender lead when Barrow failed to defuse a bomb and Lewis Charnock followed up at speed but was denied a try by the referee.
In his frustration he threw the ball away and was immediately penalised and sent packing to the sin-bin.
Roughyeds weathered the storm when Matty Wilkinson’s short, flat pass near the line sent Danny Bridge crashing in for a try which Abram goaled.
By this time Oldham were back on top. Kay threatened on the right after good work by Brook, Worthington and Langtree and three times the ball was fired left only for the final pass to go to ground or to end up in touch.
The scoring ended with ten minutes to go when Ritson flew over from long range to put Raiders only four points down, but the angled conversion attempt fell short.
Team: Abram; Kay, Worthington, Leeming, Aaronson; Charnocl, Hewitt; Joy, Owen, Spencer, Langtree, Bridge, Bent. Subs: Brook, Hutchings, Igbinedion.Johnson, Smith, Wilkinson.
Ref: Brad Milligan; Att: 918; Pens: 9-10