IN-FORM Dewsbury Rams took control in the second half to beat Roughyeds 24-6 at Bower Fold.
It was another disappointing day for those with Oldham associations as Rams conceded an early try by Ryan Ince, goaled off the touchline by Dan Abram, and then replied with 24 unanswered points — 18 of them in the second half.
Oldham tried to move the ball wide and play entertaining rugby but too many passes went to ground, not only when the backs were trying to make an impression but also among the forwards and at the ruck.
In the first half the home side’s goal-line defence was much improved on last week, but with ball in hand Roughyeds rarely looked fast enough, powerful enough or creative enough to bust open a Rams defence that was just as strong and well structured out wide as it was in the middle.
The one try Roughyeds scored followed a rare Rams clanger. They lost the ball from a scrum deep inside their own half when Danny Langtree put Matt Fleming under pressure. The ball went loose and two or three passes later Ince was going over in the corner.
The wet, heavy pitch, which had survived a lunchtime inspection, made handling difficult for both sides, but on balance the visitors coped better than Oldham, who continued to lapse in possession and paid the price when Liam Finn went close to scoring before Paul Sykes fired a wide, cut-out pass to the right where winger Andy Gabriel scored spectacularly at the corner flag.
Sykes added the difficult goal and it was level pegging at 6-6, after which Finn forced Oldham to drop out with an astute kick which enabled Rams to apply more pressure and to bring out the best in the home defence.
It was during this period of Dewsbury ascendancy that Declan Kay was hurt while taking a high kick on Oldham’s line. He resumed after treatment but was subsequently forced to go off shortly before half time, never to return.
Jack Spencer, who had been replaced a few minutes earlier after experiencing difficulty with his ball control, came back at left centre with Cam Leeming moving to the wing — a setback that put more pressure on the middle unit.
There followed a half chance in the run-up to half time when Matty Wilkinson looked to have got Matthew Fletcher away to the line, but the youngster fell to an ankle tap from a defender who seemed to come from nowhere.
The half ended with a ball from Lewis Charnock to Langtree going to ground, not for the first time.
And the second half started with another Oldham error in the first set, this giving Rams the position and the momentum to go in front for the first time with a try by powerful sub Connor Scott, which Sykes improved.
Two more Oldham handling mistakes later, the home side ran offside at the scrum and the Sykes penalty goal gave Rams an eight-point lead, which always looked to be too much for Roughyeds to claw back.
They tried, oh how they tried, but even with five penalties in a row and the decision to put Rams on a team warning for ill discipline at the ruck, they couldn’t bust them open.
A Wilkinson chip forced a drop out, but that came to nothing and as the clock ticked on towards the hooter, Rams sealed their win with two late tries by full-back Joe Martin and blockbusting left-wing Will Oakes, who had caused Roughyeds a lot of trouble every time he had the ball.
Evergreen halves Sykes and Finn masterminded Dewsbury’s second-half dominance, making sure that the home forwards struggled to make much headway on exit sets out of the bottom end of the ground.
Scorers: Oldham — goal, Abram 1/1; try, Ince (16); Dewsbury – goals, Sykes 4/5; tries, Gabriel (26), Scott (46), Martin (70), Oakes (79).
OLDHAM: Abram; Ince, Worthington, Leeming, Kay; Charnock, Hewitt; Joy, Owen, Beckett, Langtree, Bridge, Spencer. Subs: Wilkinson, Davies, Fletcher, Gwaze.
DEWSBURY: Martin; Gabriel, Ryder, Fleming, Oakes; Sykes, Finn; Reilly, Day, Nelmes, Esslemont, Knowles, Annakin. Subs: Speakman, Johnson, Scott, Magrin.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas; Att: 684; Penalties: 11-8; HT: 6-6.