Egremont 14 – 22 Oldham RLFC

Date published: Monday, March 26, 2012

WE geared up for Sunday’s big game against Barrow at Whitebank (3pm kick off) with a 22-14 win against Cumbrian amateurs Egremont in the third round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup, played at the Recreation Ground in Whitehaven.

Games of this nature are always a potential banana skin, but we recovered from an early 8-0 deficit to lead 10-8 before going in at half-time with the tie locked up at ten points apiece.

We scored two tries in the second half to Egremont’s one —- four tries to two overall, in our favour — to finish 22-14 victors thanks to a late solo try by our young loose-forward Alex Thompson.

From 8-0 down our fightback began with a try from dummy half by John Clough on the back of three penalties in a row. It  was appropriate that the hooker should open our scoring because he went on to have a fine game and to win the official Oldham man-of-the-match award.

Interestingly, his opposite number, Daniel Telford, also had a fine game and was chosen for the Egremont man-of-the-match award.

Jamie Dallimore failed to convert from left of the posts, but he made no mistake a few minutes later when Chris Clarke crossed, this taking Roughyeds into a 10-8 lead.

Some of our play was not as clinical as it might have been and an offence at his own play-the-ball by Lucas Onyango gave the home side a penalty, which John Paul Brocklebank turned into two points to bring the scores level at half-time.

The start of the second half saw Roughyeds on top. Despite stunning defence by the amateurs, particularly on their own goal line, we again went in front, this time with a try from dummy half by Danny Whitmore. Dallimore added the extras for a 16-10 lead.

Things definitely seemed to be swinging Oldham’s way, but all that was to change within minutes. Brocklebank hoisted a huge and speculative up-and-under. None of the Oldham back three got to it on the full and it bounced straight into the hands of the Egremont winger Ryan Barnes who combined with the impressive Telford to carve out a try for centre Clayton Sutton.

Brocklebank sliced his kick wide, but at 16-14 to Oldham it was still anybody’s game with eight minutes to go.

It needed something special to clinch victory and it came from young Thompson, who scored an absolute solo gem direct from the back of the scrum. Having just come off the bench to replace Martin Roden, Thommo backed himself, beat two defenders and scored under the posts.

Was it a try? Referee Joe Cobb seemed to hesitate at first, but he eventually pointed to the try and with Dally adding the extra two points we were more or less home and dry, eight points in front with only a few minutes left.

Victory means we go into the hat alongside the Super League clubs for this (Monday) evening’s draw for round four which will take place at Wigan’s ground and be broadcast on Radio Five Live.

It also means that we kept our record of never having been beaten by an amateur club in all the pro-am Challenge Cup ties we have enjoyed since the new club was formed 15 years ago.

Tony Benson summed up like this: “They gave it to us, but that was only what we expected. It was their biggest game of the season and they were brimming over with enthusiasm.

“They are a very good team in their own right and they have some very fine individuals.

“To be honest I would have been happy to win by point in a game like this so to win as we did and to come out of it with no injuries was something I’ll settle for.”

Oldham scorers: goals, Dallimore (3); tries, Clough, Clarke, Whitmore, Thompson.

Team: Greenwood; Onyango, Cookson, Fogarty, Brocklehurst; N Roden, Dallimore; Boults, Clough, Johnson, Noone, Clarke, Thompson. Subs: M Roden, Whitmore, Ellison, Syron.

Referee:J Cobb (Leigh); Att: 468.