Doncaster 26 Oldham 46

Date published: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

FIVE tries in 20 magical minutes early in the second half — one of them a length-of-the-field beauty by Ben Heaton — steered Roughyeds to a 46-26 win against Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Young forwards in the Oldham side were once again the players fans were talking about on their way home from south Yorkshire, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

They were delighted to see a young Oldham second-rower, Heaton, with the pace and confidence to snap up a stray Doncaster pass off his bootlaces near Oldham’s line and go the full distance with opponents trailing in his slipstream. When did we last see an Oldham back-row man do that? Would it be Goodway?

Ben Heaton

They were impressed with another all-action show in the middle by Chris Clarke, be it when scoring, tackling or carrying the ball forward, before he was smashed in the face by a swinging fist and taken off with his lip split wide open and requiring nine stitches.

And not for the first time during a run of seven league wins out of seven matches played they were singing the praises of a young forward out on the lethal left flank who plays with a maturity beyond his years, Joe Chandler.

One of the best things about this Oldham squad is its well-balanced blend of youth and experience.

Of equal importance is its ability to mix and match its creativity so that opponents are kept guessing as to who will instigate the next play . . .Neil Roden? perhaps Martin Roden out of dummy half? or Matty Ashe? or what about Danny Whitmore?

This variety of attack, allied to enthusiastic defence and an ability to strike both up the middle and out wide finally proved too much for a spirited Doncaster side which led 14-12 at half-time but failed to live with Oldham in the early part of the second half.

The home side lived off enthusiasm, a strong pack and the kicking game of stand-off Simon Brown, who looked as though he could belt a ball to Bridlington and back in his stocking feet.

Joe Chandler

Brown’s boot, followed by a good chase, often had Roughyeds on the rack in the first half when the visitors owed much to the willingness of Lucas Onyango to forsake his attacking duties and revert to line-clearing for the overall good of his team and also to the consistent Paul O’Connor, who was often called upon to clean-up at the back, as he does week in and week out.

Roughyeds were off to a good start with a Boults try, goaled by Ashe, in the seventh minute after the Kiwi half-back had forced a Doncaster drop out to give Oldham a repeat set.

Oldham had all the early play, but they failed to make their territorial advantage count although they were unlucky when John Gillam was brought back for a forward pass when out in the clear and later when Ashe chipped over the top, regathered first bounce but was unable to find his support on the inside.

Winger Scott Wilson scored a Donny try which Brown goaled off the touchline before Roughyeds went ahead a second time with a try by Ashe. This followed excellent work by Neil Roden, first to force Rob Lunt to err and then to angle his run from the scrum perfectly to provide Ashe with a try which he also goaled.

A clever reverse chip by Brown found full-back Griffiths, who rose above Neil Roden to score a second home try.

Brown added the conversion and then stroked home a penalty to give the home side a narrow lead at half-time.

Whatever was said at half-time worked for Oldham. They emerged looking infinitely more confident, cool and composed — and they were soon running in the tries as their fans finally began to make themselves heard with chants of ‘Oldham, Oldham’.

The left-flank strike force of Fogerty-Chandler-Gillam blitzed the Doncaster defence on that side and turned the game on its head.

Fogerty and Gillam both did well to provide a try for Chandler, expertly goaled off the touchline by Ashe, which put the visitors ahead for the third time.

Mick Fogerty

Minutes later Fogerty smashed his way to the line, but this time Ashe couldn’t add the extras from wide out — his only failure in eight conversion attempts.

The Kiwi’s next action of note was to supply the defence-splitting pass which put Clarke over after Roughyeds had chosen to keep up the pressure rather than go for goal from a penalty.

Gillam sailed through a weary-looking defence to score his side’s sixth try and then came Heaton’s big moment when he turned defence into attack with his magnificent counter, leading to yet another Roughyeds try.
Credit Doncaster with the determination to play the full 80 despite the game having gone from their grasp.

Jack Ely crashed in from close range and then Dean Colton got another out on the wing, but it was Oldham who closed the proceedings with a Dave Ellison try after good approach play by Boults and Whitmore.

Scorers: Doncaster – goals, Brown (5); tries, Wilson, Griffiths, Ely, Colton; Oldham — goals, Ashe (7); tries, Boults, Ashe, Chandler, Fogerty, Clarke, Gillam, Heaton, Ellison.

Doncaster: Griffiths; Colton, Lunt, Spurr, Wilson; Brown, Fawcett; Bovill, Keswick, Ellery, Lawton, Steen, Carbutt. Subs: Crawley, Hughes, Ely, Bates.

Oldham: O’Connor; Onyango, Reilly, Fogerty, Gillam; N Roden, Ashe; Boults, M Roden, Kerr, Robinson, Chandler, Clarke. Subs: Ellison, Sutton, Heaton, Whitmore.

Referee: Mr C Dolan; Att: 730.