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Broncos held by youthful Roughyeds

A MUCH-CHANGED Oldham side held Super League side London Broncos to an 18-18 draw at Boundary Park.

Sean Long made eight changes to the 17 that secured an important victory over Halifax last weekend and, while Oldham were not as fluent in attack, this was an impressive showing, considering London are just two weeks away from the commencement of their season in the top-flight.

One man who maintained his spot from last week was Ben O’Keefe who was strong defensively after regularly producing strong tackles to keep London at bay.

Oldham were caught out eight times, during the game, due to incorrect play-the-balls as they struggled to adapt to the RFL’s new laws – in complete contrast to last week’s near error-free performance.

Considering the Roughyeds’ errors, a draw against the Mike Eccles-coached side has to be considered a very good result.

A lot of London’s success came off the back of those mistakes, but Sean Long’s men battled well in the first forty to keep London’s advantage to just one score.

The first Broncos try, off the back of a play-the-ball error, came from a low-driven kick by Oliver Leyland towards the posts where James Meadows dived on the ball to score.

Minutes later, the same thing happened again – another untidy play-the-ball gave London the platform for Illiess Macani to score in the corner.

Oldham grew into the game, thanks to some good defensive sets and their alterness to London loose passes.

A double penalty – first for a high shot and then for backchat – gave Oldham good territory, and from there Cian Tyrer scored, after an Ellis kick to the corner.

There was more sustained Oldham pressure, who had several repeat sets deep in Broncos territory, but Broncos defended well.

Just minutes into the second half, Oldham drew level thanks to the evasive Jordan Paga who broke free of several Broncos tacklers – as he so often did last season – to find a way to score under the posts.

Roughyeds had to do a lot of defending due to the errors but, for large parts, they stood firm.

Just after the hour-mark, though, London re-took the lead when Sadiq Adebiyi broke the line to score off the back of another Oldham incorrect play-the-ball.

Their advantage was increased in the remaining ten minutes when Lee Kershaw ran over in the corner, but Oldham clawed one back moments later.

Several six agains, in Oldham’s favour, gave Paga the chance to slot a low-driven kick towards the line which Emmerson Whittel grounded to score.

Kieran Tyrer’s kick for goal hit the post, but he got another bite at the cherry when Oldham were handed a penalty deep in the Broncos half, not long after.

Rather than chance their arm, Oldham opted to kick for goal and Tyrer made no mistake as he secured a draw.

After a solid showing from the much-changed Oldham side, Sean Long will have a difficult time in selecting a 17 to face Barrow this coming Saturday.

Scorers: Oldham: goals, Ellis 1/1, K.Tyrer 2/3; tries, C.Tyrer, Paga, Whittel

London: goals, Leyland 1/4; tries, Meadows, Macani, Adebiyi Kershaw

Teams:

OLDHAM: Astley; Rawsthorne, Morgan, O’Keefe, C.Tyrer; Paga, Ellis; Farnworth, Aldridge, J.Chapelhow, Taylor, Lawton, Moran. Subs: Jack Johnson, Whittel, Hirst, Josh Johnson, K.Tyrer (all used).

LONDON: Rourke; Kershaw, Storey, Hoyes, Macani; Leyland, Meadows; Butler, Davies, Kennedy, Lovell, Adeiyi, Parata. Subs: Campagnolo, Stock, Williams, Waine, Boafo (all used).

Referee: Matty Lynn; HT: 6-10; Pens: 9-6; Att: 1214

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