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Hirst stars as Oldham outlast gritty Midlands

Sean Long admits Oldham have plenty to work on as he watched his side battle past a dogged Midlands Hurricanes 44-16 for a fifth straight win to go back on top of Betfred League 1.

Winger Mo Agoro returned from injury with two tries at the Alexander Stadium, and electric full-back Phoenix Laulu-Togaga’e also scored twice as the Roughyeds turned a narrow 14-12 half-time advantage into a much more commanding margin after 80 minutes.

“There is stuff we need to work on,” Long told Roughyeds TV, with George Hirst the pick of a powerful pack who ultimately came out on top against the 12-man hosts.

“Every session we work on what we want to improve on for the following work and we need to look at our ball security because we made it hard for ourselves today.

“Midlands had a right dig and were in the game until about 20 minutes to go.”

After an error-strewn opening, Agoro grabbed the game’s first score with a smart finish in the right corner after slick Oldham hands, but any hopes of a comfortable afternoon were nipped in the bud when Callum McLelland responded for the hosts to lead 6-4.

After a nervy start that saw the Roughyeds full-back drop two high kicks, Laulu-Togaga’e came up trumps at the right end of the pitch with another dazzling finish to restore the Oldham lead. Then came the game’s big flash point as Midlands’ Matty Welham was shown a red card by referee Tara Jones for late contact on kicker Danny Craven. After a lengthy delay, Oldham scored again, Agoro with a carbon copy of his opening try in the corner. Two missed conversions from Ellis though kept the scoreline close at 14-6 and it was closer still at the break after Lewis Peachey struck for the 12 men, Sweeting’s goal reducing their arrears to just two points at the break.

The hosts then hit the front early in the second half as Ryan Johnson finished acrobatically, but that would prove their last score as Oldham took control.

PLT waltzed through for his second, Elis converting and then adding a penalty to carve a six-point lead. Man-of-the-match Hirst then found a wonderful finish to give Oldham a bit of daylight, and Long’s men pulled away with Craven dummying over, points machine Cian Tyrer scoring his 11th try in three games and two goals and Craig Kopczak striding clear for the last try of the game.

“I thought we came and started a bit flighty so full credit to Midlands who started really well,” added Long, whose side are back home at Boundary Park next Sunday to face Newcastle.

“We dipped our toe in the water and they came at us. I don’t think the score reflected the game, it was a tough game and I’m just glad to get the win.”


Midlands: Horner, Johnson, Oakes, M.Welham, Bass, Sweeting, McLelland, Kirby, Barcoe, Broadbent, L.Welham, Wilkinson, Hobson.

Subs: Cullimore, Willis, Peachey, Brown

Oldham: Laulu-Togaga’e, Agoro, Wardle, Turner, Tyrer, Craven, Ellis, Kopczak, Wildie, J.Chapelhow, Gallagher, Lawton, Taylor.

Subs: Astley, T.Chapelhow, Farnworth, Hirst


Scorers:

Midlands:

Tries: McLelland, Peachey, Johnson.
Goals: Sweeting 2

Oldham:

Tries: Agoro 2, Laulu-Togaga’e 2, Hirst, Craven, Tyrer, Kopczak
Goals: Ellis 4, Tyrer 2

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