YOUNG centre Ben O’Keefe’s two tries in the 22-10 win at Barrow took his Roughyeds total to four in four games and put him out in front in the long list of Oldham try scorers..
Sadly, he will be remembered not for his excellent all-round performance in this third-round Challenge Cup win at Craven Park, but for being sent off with home wing Luke Broadbent in the dying embers of a hard-fought tie.
After a fracas both players were shown red by referee Marcus Griffiths as the final hooter sounded , O’Keefe walking off in this televised tie with blood streaming down his face.
Oldham, in League One, are still unbeaten after four games under Sean Long and are averaging five tries a game in a pre-season run-out at Keighley, wins in two separate cup competitions against Championship opposition and a draw with a side that will be operating in Super League soon, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.
They’ve piled up 110 points and conceded only 58 and at Barrow they went from 10-4 down at half-time to dominate the second-half, to keep the Raiders scoreless after the break and, from midway through the first half, Sean’s men scored four tries by O’Keefe (2). Matty Wildie and Adam Lawton, answered only by a Ryan Shaw penalty to make it 10-4 at the interval.
Roughyeds had a lot of work to do in the second half, and didn’t they do well ? For 20 minutes or so. Barrow failed to get any sort of foothold in the Oldham half and Roughyeds finished worthy winners in a tie televised by the BBC with commentary by John Kear and Richard Newsome.
“The effort levels of both sides are first-class. Both teams will sleep tonight, believe me,”
Added Peter Wilson, former Rugby League writer for the Daily Star:
“Oldham are a League One side in name only.”
And Sean Long himself commented:
“If anything I would say this is a better result for us than when we beat Halifax, given the long drive up here and the heavy conditions.”
Oldham’s interest and involvement in both the Challenge Cup and the 1895 Cup is still alive. Next Sunday, Rochdale Hornets come to Boundary Park in group four of the 1895 Cup.