WE returned to winning ways by starring in defence and attack with a glitzy performance that earned us a 66-0 win against Midlands Hurricanes at the Vestacare Stadium.
We “nilled” our opponent for the first time this season and at the other end scored 12 tries, most of them on the end of slick, crowd-pleasing rugby based on ball movement, slick handling and sharp support play.
The two league points allowed us to leapfrog Hurricanes into seventh place at the season’s half-way stage, just one place and four points outside the play-offs.
“Hopefully, we can build on this now with the play-offs in our sights, but we need to strive for consistency,”
said a delighted Stu Littler.
The manner of this first win since April 24 was especially satisfying for Stu and his coaching staff, given that much of the preparation dealt with the need to improve discipline and reduce infringements while, at the same time, working out how to score more tries.
Result – a smash hit; not a single penalty to either side in the first half; only six in the second half, four of them to Oldham; and a dozen tries thrown in for good measure.
“It was the first time this season we won the tackle count,”
observed Littler, who also revealed that set completion was another factor, given that Roughyeds had completed at 80 per cent in both halves.
“The challenge for us now is to play like this in every match — not how we played at London Skolars.”
Half-back Robbie Butterworth, left-wing Joe Hartley and prop Jordan Andrade each scored two tries with Dane Windrow, James Thornton, Owen Restall, Calvin Wellington, Connor Carr and Nyle Flynn also scoring, while Martyn Ridyard landed nine conversions from 12 attempts.
Club-captain Ridyard was chief play-maker in several of the Oldham tries, but Owen Restall fashioned the first for Robbie Butterworth in what was a brilliant opening salvo by the Oldham full-back.
When Dane Windrow showed exciting pace to score the next try in the clubhouse corner, you could almost sense the whole side’s upsurge in confidence and self-belief.
It was 26-0 by half-time and the points continued to come thick and fast on the restart with Butterworth going in for his second and then Connor Carr scoring an absolute beauty with centre play of the highest order.
Receiving Ridyard’s wide, cut-out pass in the left-centre berth, he shaped to find his winger before accelerating away on the outside of his opposite number to cross in the corner.
Big Jordan Andrade, who must have run man-of-the-match Luke Nelmes close for the individual accolade, crashed in for second try before Joe Hartley went in for two tries in six minutes.
His first was a gem. Picking up the ball on a kick rebound in Oldham’s ten-metre zone, Andrade found himself in the clear with only fesh air between him and the Hurricanes line.
Butterworth got with him and when he was closed down, he found Hartley with him and the winger went round the last covering defender to finish off under the posts.
Team: Restall; Cooke, Wellington, Carr, Hartley; Ridyard, Butterworth; Nelmes, Jinks, Spencer, Windrow, Thornton, Whittel. Subs: O’Donnell, Andrade, Cameron, Flynn.