Chairman salutes Oldham’s characterDate published: Monday, August 17, 2015
CHRIS Hamilton saluted Oldham’s “inspirational” commitment and character on the day they battled to their tenth win in a row in a fiercely-fought League One clash at Newcastle Thunder.
Thunder, who had to win to retain top-five play-off ambitions, led 10-4 at half-time and trailed only 16-18 for a substantial period in the second half before Roughyeds clinched it with late tries by Jon Ford and Tom Ashton.
It was Ford’s second try of the game and others were scored by teenagers David Hewitt and Elliott Liku, while Lewis Palfrey kicked four goals.
Said club chairman Hamilton: “Our inspirational character shone through in the toughest game we’ve had for a long time.
“We could easily have lost. Thunder were strong, physical and in our faces and for starters we had to match that.
“We wore them down and on the back of that we scored some cracking tries, demonstrating that we are much better at game management than in previous seasons.”
In a bruiser, Oldham vice-captain Sammy Gee and Thunder’s Macauley Hallett were sent off for fighting in the second half with Roughyeds leading 16-10.
Gee will be available for Barrow’s visit to Whitebank on Sunday (3pm) because any suspension will start with the home game against Swinton Lions on September 6.
Neither Barrow nor North Wales can now overtake Scott Naylor’s men in the final league placings which means that, at the very least, Roughyeds are mathematically certain to qualify for the top-five play-off.
Given that they top the division with four points to spare, however, they are setting sights much higher than that.
If they can win their three remaining games against Barrow and Swinton at Whitebank and Oxford away, they will finish as league leaders and need to win only one more game — at Whitebank against the team finishing second — to win promotion and end a nine-year stay in tier three of the pro game.
Added Hamilton: “All our tries had a lot to commend them, but Hewitt’s was a fantastic effort. Not only did he produce excellent support play, but when he got the ball near half way he still had a tremendous amount to do to get to the line.”
After four games in the Oldham jersey, the on-loan 19-year-old, from the St Helens club, is averaging a try a game.