Gateshead 14 Oldham 32

Date published: Monday, June 23, 2014
MO Agoro extended his try-scoring run to eight games by touching down twice early in the second half as we came from behind to win 32-14 at Gateshead Thunder.

Much has been said and written about Thunder’s new ambitions since they were taken over by Premiership RU club Newcastle Falcons and now sit side by side with them under the Newcastle Rugby Ltd umbrella.
They clearly intend to make a huge effort to win promotion as early as the end of this season so our coach Scott Naylor and the players knew they would have to be at their best to go up there and win against a much stronger side than the one beaten at Whitebank in April.
That challenge became all the greater when we went 14-6 down after 20 minutes, but the boys rose to the task brilliantly to hit back with 26 unanswered points and to render Thunder scoreless in the second half.
We kept them out, in fact, for an hour — and of the three tries they scored early on, one was an absolute gift following an Oldham handling error and another was scored by Jason Payne, who somehow got the ball down when seemingly held in a three-man tackle on the line and at the end of a set.
Payne, the Thunder captain and one of the top-scoring players in the division, is renowned for that sort of thing and it was one of several occasions early in the game when we could have done better.
It was full credit to our side’s willingness and ability to shake themselves out of a dodgy patch which was to turn the game on its head in the lead up to half-time.
Despite being a man down when Payne’s try gave the home side an eight-point lead, Danny Whitmore having been sent to the sin bin for striking out, we took command with Ben Wood, Josh Crowley and Kenny Hughes all being held up over the line before we were rewarded when Crowley collected a perfect crosskick by Lewis Palfrey to score and set our fightback in motion.
Thunder hardly got a look-in during a one-sided second half in which Agoro scored twice before further tries were scored by Palfrey and Jon Ford, the latter a customary interception walk-in by the centre, who is making a habit of grabbing such opportunities.
The first of our six tries came in only the second minute when Dale Bloomfield crossed in the corner after a superb break by Steve Nield and quick movement of the ball through hands from right to left to create an overlap out wide.
Palfrey, one of the division’s leading goalkickers and top points scorers, finished with another dozen points from four goals and a try.
Scorers: Oldham — goals, Palfrey (4); tries, Bloomfield, Crowley, Agoro (2), Palfrey, Ford; Thunder — goal, Beherrall; tries, Heil, Stamp, Payne.
Oldham: Nield; Agoro, Cookson, Ford, Bloomfield; Palfrey, Roper; Boults, Whitmore, Joy, Crowley, Langtree, Gee. Subs: Hughes, Wood, Ward, Mason.
Thunder: Sheriff; Mapals, Brown, Heil, Blades; Beharrell, Rooney; Barron, Stamp, Fewlass, Farrell, Payne, Hough. Subs: Mweads, Ruff, Clarke, Stoker.
Referee: Andy Sweet; Attendance: 253.