Leigh reserves v Oldham reserves

Date published: Wednesday, July 7, 2010

ROUGHYEDS reserves last night pulled off a magnificent 20-16 win against high-flying Leigh Centurions at Golbone ARLFC, inflicting only their second defeat of the season.

“We gave an outstanding performance,” said coach John Hough, “but we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground. We go to Sheffield on Saturday.”

Leigh led 10-0 after 20 minutes and 16-6 after 55 minutes, but Roughyeds then took command to totally dominate the last 25 minutes and to score 14 points without reply thanks to an inspirational all-round team effort.

Starting nervously, and losing loose-forward Johnny Walker with a shoulder injury in the second minute of the game, Roughyeds appeared to hold Centurions in awe in the opening exchanges.

Self-belief visibly grew, however, when they reduced Leigh’s lead from 10-0 to 10-6 with a try near half-time by winger Lewis Brooks thanks to slick approach play by Dean Hatton, Mick Diveney and Kashley Watkins.

Diveney, whose kicking skills were to prove decisive later in the game, added a superb conversion off the touchline.

Leading up to the try it needed a fantastic try-saving tackle to stop Mark Smith going in, and then Diveney put Watkins through to the line only for the score to be disallowed for a forward pass.

Next up, Alistair Williams made a long, searing break down the left only to be tackled just short.

The balance of power was most definitely swinging in Oldham’s favour and the lads themselves seemed to sense that when Brooks finally got over in the corner and Diveney added the vital extras.

Leigh led 10-6 at half-time but early in the second half a Diveney 40-20 put Roughyeds back on top before Leigh replied with their third try against the run of play to restore their ten-point lead.

Undeterred, Roughyeds responded superbly when Watkins collected Diveney’s high restart kick for Hatton to send in prop Ben Mellor for a try which Diveney improved.

As the visitors grew in stature and confidence, full-back Mark Brocklehurst crashed over for a third Oldham try before Diveney landed a 67th minute penalty and then broke Leigh’s resistance with two late drop goals.

Teamwork won it for Roughyeds, but individually there were eye-catching performances by half-backs Diveney and Tommy Connick and forwards Scott Mansfield, Mellor, Michael Ward, Watkins, Hatton, Phil Joy and Mark Smith.

A delighted John Hough said later: “We talked before the game about qualifying for the play-offs and acknowledged that if we were to achieve our goal we needed to be beating teams like Leigh.

“Playing at Golborne was a first for them as well as us so that removed the ‘home advantage’ element, so we focused on that as well.

“It was a fantastic team effort, achieved by a squad that was a man short for all but the first two minutes of the game following Johnny Walker’s injury. Effectively, we had only three subs for the whole match.

“We now go to Sheffield on Saturday in our third game in eight days so we need to start thinking about that one rather than getting too excited about this.”

The Oldham team lined up like this:

Brocklehurst; Brooks, Knight, Williams, Chetwynd; Diveney, Connick; Cadd, Mansfield, Mellor, Ward, Watkins, Walker. Subs: Hatton, Joy, Smith, Coates.