Heads held high

Date published: Monday, September 10, 2012

AFTER a job well done over four games, caretaker coach Martin Roden led his Oldham players off Derwent Park with head held high.

He had suffered the agony of a desperately unlucky 34-29 play-off defeat in which Workington snatched victory two minutes from the end with a killer try that was the direct result of a speculative kick and a wicked bounce.

Roughyeds led from the 28th minute to the 78th and for most of the game looked the better side — good enough and strong enough to record their third win of the season against the Cumbrians and their third victory in three visits to Derwent Park, going back to the end of last season.

Town got out of jail, but credit them with a never-say-die mentality which enabled them to score 14 points in the last five dramatic minutes to bring the Rougheds season to a heartbreaking close and to set up another sudden-death clash at the same venue next Sunday against their derby rivals from just down the coast, Whitehaven.

Said Roden: “It can be a cruel old sport. We did enough to win, but the bounce of the ball cost us the game two minutes from the end.

“I’m gutted not for me; for the lads.

“Each and every member of the squad has fronted up for me in the last few weeks and realised what they have NOT been doing all season.

“We were good enough to match anybody in this division if we had played like this all year, but for weeks on end only half the team would be up for it and then in the next game it would be the turn of the other half to put in a shift. In each game we would have only seven or eight players giving it their all.

“For whatever reason, though, in the past four weeks or so they have bought into my defensive ethics individually and collectively and they have done the club proud. All credit to them for that.

“I’m proud of how they have played, and how they have defended with pride, passion and aggression.

“There won’t be a single player in the Workington dressing room who won’t feel bashed up.

“In the final analysis, I think we would have held on to our lead and gone on to win if we had had more of a winning mentality. You only get that with winning, and we haven’t won enough this season.

“In contrast, Workington have done a lot more winning than us and they never lost their belief even when we went 29-20 up with only eight minutes left.

“Nevertheless, it was a first-rate show from our lads.

“I wouldn’t even try to pick out individuals because it was a team effort from start to finish. But over the course of the season Miles Greenwood has been fantastic.

“Today we saw more young forwards coming through. The club has a whole crop of them and now you can add two more who stood up today in only their second senior outings — Phil Joy and Danny Langtree.

“Young forwards like that, and the others, stand the club in good stead for the future.

“Personally, I take a lot out of the team performance because they displayed all the qualities I like — spirit, determination, commitment.

“Don’t forget that, early in the game, we were down to 12 men for ten minutes when Jamie Acton went in the bin.

“That takes a lot of petrol out of the tank, not so much during those ten minutes but later in the game when energy levels are running down.

“It has a similar result when you give a lot of penalties away, as we did once again. The sin-binning and the penalties have an accumulative affect which told near the end when they scored a lot of their points.

“In the first half we were defending well, but not executing as I wanted on attack. Even though we led by nine points at half time I wasn’t a happy man, although I must reiterate that we were very unlucky indeed to lose in the way we did when we did — just two minutes from the end.”