Hough urges Reserves to victory

Date published: Monday, September 12, 2011

OLDHAM RL reserves were given a half-time tongue-bashing by coach John Hough and his assistant Paul Ashton when trailing 16-14 at Widnes in their Reserves Under-23s Championship top-two play-off tie.

It worked wonders, Roughyeds scoring six tries to one in the second half to blow the league leaders away in a 46-22 triumph which secured for Hough’s heroes a Grand Final at Whitebank against Widnes or Leigh, details of which have still to be announced

“To lose a 14-0 lead was totally unacceptable,” said Hough, “so Ashy and I gave them a rocket at half-time.

“Their response was tremendous. Every man stepped up to the mark to produce a phenomenal second-half performance. We must now back this up in the final. If nothing else, the players are well aware now what levels they have to reach if they are to win big games like these.”

Left-winger Terry Bridge scored two tries and there was one apiece for prop Danny Langtree, half-back Jamie Dallimore, right-wing Zac Cotton, loose-forward Alex Thompson, prop Michael Ward and second-row man Chris Dean. Dallimore kicked seven goals from nine attempts despite a tricky wind.

The lead had already changed hands three times before Roughyeds took complete control in the last 20 minutes when they had the ball ten times to Widnes’s one and completed every set, rattling up 26 unanswered points.

Watched by head coach Tony Benson, loose-forward Thompson gave an outstanding second-half performance, as did half-backs Dallimore and Tommy Connick and the versatile Ward, who switched from pack to right centre when Paul Brearley went off with a shoulder injury.

Second-row men Jamie Knight, the captain, and Dean worked overtime, as did hooker Kenny Hughes, while Cotton scored brilliantly at the right-hand corner, beatng the cover defence with little room in which to work.

Hooker Scott Mansfield, out for eight weeks with a chest-bone injury, and prop Bruce Johnson, out for a similar length of time with a serious finger injury, were eased back into action off the bench and both came through unscathed.

Team: Nield; Cotton, Brearley, Cookson, Bridge; Connick, Dallimore; Langtree, Hughes, Ward, Dean, Knight, Thompson. Subs (all used): Mansfield, Wood-Hulme, Johnson, Barber.