Gateshead 16 – 52 Oldham

Date published: Monday, June 27, 2011

ROUGHYEDS consolidated their place in the play-off six with a convincing 52-16 win against Gateshead Thunder in the vast International Arena on Tyneside, just south of the river, on Sunday, June 26.

Tony Benson’s men scored ten tries — two apiece by centre Matthew Fogarty, his winger Mark Brocklehurst, hooker John Clough and half-back Carl Forber and others by Andy Isherwood and Luke Sutton..

They came close to scoring many more points, Ben Heaton and Callum Casey having tries disallowed for final forward passes and Clough racing clear after great work by Heaton only to drop the ball as he prepared to touch down under the posts.

Forber kicked six conversions to take his personal points tally in the game to 20 but on another day he would have converted the four he missed and that would also have added to the Oldham total.

The first 20 minutes was nip and tuck with Thunder playing some good rugby to bring out the best in the Roughyeds defence.

The home side went in front, though, when Joe Brown raced over for a try which Ryan Clarke improved for a 6-0 home lead.

Roughyeds drew level in the 12th minute when Paul Noone worked the blind side from a scrum close to the Thunder line and cleverly timed his pass to send Fogarty crashing over the Gateshead line.

Midway through the half props Dave Ellison and Luke Sutton came off the bench to replace Jason Boults and Luke Stenchion and this was to prove a master-stroke as the two biggest front-rowers on the Oldham books proceeded to dismantle the Thunder defence brick by brick.

Boults and Stenchion had done the early work well and had paved the way for Ellison and Sutton to cause havoc and consternation in Thunder ranks as they established the high ground and paved the way for the points avalanche that was to follow.

Sutton linked with Heaton to set up a second try for Isherwood before Ellison again had the home defence back-pedalling anxiously in the build-up to the third try by Sutton, who literally crashed his way past a posse of close-to-the-line defenders.

The fourth Oldham try was a gem. Sutton again made the running and sub Callum Casey glided through on his left shoulder to take the pass and, with a clever piece of quick handling, to send Clough under the posts.

Fogarty went in next on a wide pass from Forber, and then Clough dropped his howler when he got alongside the breaking Heaton to race unopposed to the line only to knock-on in the act of scoring.

If this bothered the Oldham hooker he didn’t let it show and, sure enough, he was first to get on the scoresheet in the second half after a great link on the left flank by Mark McCully and Isherwood.

As Roughyeds continued to build momentum Forber scored the first of his brace when he capitalised on the skill of his half-back partner Neil Roden and then Brocklehurst scored twice in two minutes in the right-hand corner — the first on an inside reverse pass by Fogarty and the second as a direct result of another telling bust up the middle by the outstanding Ellison.

Following the withdrawal of Ellison and Sutton, Thunder came back into the game late on and scored tries by Jonny Shields and Ryan Clarke, but Oldham had the last laugh when Forber went in to complete the scoring after a slick one-two with the man of the moment, Dave Ellison.

Oldham thus won 52-16 and they owed a great deal to the on-loan pair of youngsters from Leeds Rhinos, Callum Casey and Danny Bravo, who both put in excellent stints while on debut.

Bravo, in from the start, worked hard as a back-rower on the left side of the field while Casey emerged from the bench midway through the first half to use the ball intelligently and to demonstrate that he is a talented ball handler who will clearly go from strength to strength while on loan here at Oldham.

Scorers: Thunder — goals, Clarke (2); tries, Brown, Shields, Clarke; goals, Clark 2; Oldham — goals, Forber (6); tries, Fogarty (2), Isherwood, Sutton, Clough (2), Forber (2), Brocklehurst (2).

Thunder: Wilson; Peers, Mitchell, Brown, Shields; Bate, Clarke; Cakacaka, Hodgson, Parker, Kelly, O’Mara, Payne. Subs: Young, Wilson, Thompson, Aderieye..

Oldham: Heaton; Brocklehurst, Fogarty, McCully, Robinson; N Roden, Forber; Boults, M Roden, Stenchion, Bravo, Isherwood, Noone. Subs: Ellison, Sutton, Casey,Clough.

Referee: George Stokes; Att: 436.