Hough’s heroes

Date published: Sunday, August 21, 2011

DESPITE slipping to their first defeat in 11 games at Whitehaven, John Hough’s Oldham RL Reserves finished runners-up to Widnes Vikings in the 18-match Under-23s Championship — a superb achievement.

In winning 13 and drawing one of their 18 games, Hough’s heroes were the only team all season to beat table-topping Widnes, whom they pipped 28-22 on Merseyside in early July.

In averaging 37 points a game, they beat every team in the division at least once and recorded doubles over Halifax, York, Keighley and Sheffield, while taking three points out of four off Featherstone Rovers.

They now have a three-week break before going to Widnes on Saturday, September 10 in the play-off. The winners will go straight through to the final and stage it on their home ground, while the losers will have a second chance to reach the final when going head to head at home against the overall winner of the play-off ties involving those clubs finishing three to six inclusive.

Roughyeds played without six regulars when losing 23-10 at Whitehaven. Matthew Fogarty, skipper Jamie Knight and Chris Dean were unavailable due to work commitments; Alex Thomson and Paul Brearley were out through injury; and Liam Gilchrist was called up to the senior squad.

On top of that, substitute David Cookson was carrying an injury and didn’t go on, and Alistair Williams went off after only five minutes with severe concussion and a gash over an eye which required stitches.

Rob Spencer, at loose-forward, played his first game for weeks and new boy Kyle Fisher, from Elland, made his debut off the bench as Kenny Hughes’s replacement and caught the eye with a fine, all-round performance.

Roughyeds made a phenomenal number of tackles in the first half alone — 146 — and this caused them to tire in the last 20 minutes when the Cumbrians scored two tries to take the game out of Oldham’s reach.

The visitors trailed 12-0 at half-time, but pulled back to 12-10 early in the second half with tries by Jamie Dallimore and Tom Wood-Hulme and a Dallimore conversion.

“While it was disappointing to lose,” said coach Hough, “I had an opportunity to play some fringe players and they all showed up well. We’ve had a fantastic season and we’ve now got three weeks to prepare for the biggest game since Roughyeds Reserves were formed four years ago.”

Team: Nield; Brookes, Cotton, Williams, Bridge; Connick, Dallimore; Joy, Hughes, Eyres, Langtree, Wood-Hulme, Spencer. Subs: Fisher, Cookson, Barber,Chetywynd.

LEAGUE TABLE

(final placings)

 

P        W      D       L       For        Against     Pts

Widnes                         18       15      2       1      728        356           32

OLDHAM                       18       13      1       4      664        456           27

Leigh                            18       13      0       5      569        450           26

Whitehaven                   18       12      0       6      585        479           24

Featherstone                 18         9      2       7      515        390           20

Halifax                          18         7      0      11      450        510           14

York                              18        6       1      11     496        570           13

Keighley                        18        6        0      12     394        509           12

Dewsbury                      18        4       0       14     414        713             8

Sheffield                        18        2       0      16     332        714              4