Law Cup – Oldham 34 Rochdale 28

Date published: Tuesday, January 4, 2011

WE got the season off to a highly satisfactory start with a 34-28 win against derby rivals Rochdale Hornets at Whitebank on Sunday, January 2.

A crowd of nearly 800 braved a cold day to watch Roughyeds score seven tries to Hornets’ five and to clinch victory in a thriller with a decisive try by the determined Mark Brocklehurst four minutes from the end.

Chris Hough put Hornets in front with a try in the eighth minute, goaled by Liam McGovern, but tries by Ben Wood and Alistair Williams in the 13th and 16th minutes gave us the lead, and it was to be an advantage we never lost.

Hornets pegged us back from 18-6 down to go in at half-time trailing 18-16, and they did a similar fightback routine in the second half, coming from 30-16 down to 30-28 before ‘Brocky’ did his stuff.

We were worthy winners with a good all-round team effort in which there were some outstanding individual performances, notably from three-try Wood in the second-row, full-back Ben Heaton and replacement hooker John Clough.

Heaton was as safe as houses under McGovern’s high kicks and he also scored a cracking solo try in which he went the length of the field up the slope.

Clough looked good from dummy half, while Williams scored wide out on the left to put the finishing touches to the best team try of the afternoon.

Neil Roden’s teasing kicks gave Wood his first two tries and then he completed his hat-trick early in the second half when he hurtled in on a peach of a pass from Clough.

It was also a fine piece of invention by Clough, who tapped the ball through from dummy half, which set up the try for Sutton as Roughyeds threatened to build a significant lead early in the second half.

Hornets wrestled the initiative from Oldham’s grasp in the run-up to half-time when full-back Scott Yates scored and then Danny Smith crossed in the corner after a defence-splitting break by Phil Wood.

They also came strongly again in the later stages of the second half, first when McGovern sent in Smith and soon afterwards when Smith’s final pass enabled Matt Strong to crash over.

McGovern’s fourth conversion cut the Oldham lead to two points, but Roughyeds went down to the other side of the field on the back of a penalty.

Neil Roden slid the ball into the Hornets in-goal and forced another set and it was in this set that he moved the ball right for Brocklehurst to drag himself clear of the challenge and go over for the clincher.

Scorers: Oldham — goals, Diveney 3; tries,Wood (3), Williams, Heaton, Sutton,Brocklehurst; Hornets — goals, McGovern 4; tries, Hough, Yates, Smith (2), Strong.

Oldham: Heaton; Onyango, Brocklehurst, Williams, Knight; Roden, Diveney; Boults, Mansfield, Gilchrist, Isherwood, Wood, Bentley. Subs (all used): Sutton, Ellison, Clough, Walker,Wood-Hulme.

Hornets: Yates; Johnson,Strong, English, Kennedy; Hough,McGovern; Hobson, Wood, Bowman, Samuel, Clough, Ashall. Subs: Hayes, Cookson, McDermott, Smith, Bloomfield, Taylor.

Referee: D Merrick (Pontefract); Att: 796.