Match report – South Wales v Oldham

Date published: Monday, April 12, 2010


ROUGHYEDS made it five wins from five in the league and six victories in a row overall when they triumphed 22-16 against South Wales Scorpions in Neath after surviving tremendous pressure from the Welshmen in the last ten minutes.

Unlike certain other teams we have played out of the heartlands over the years, this new Welsh team really is ‘Welsh’ and it is credit to everyone associated with the club that they have assembled such a competitive side in such a comparatively short time.

Credit also to coach Anthony Seibold who summed up thus after the game: “It was another good learning curve for us. Our effort was good, but we were not clinical enough. We have a lot of talented individuals, but they need to learn game sense and that will only come with time.

“Our application was first-class and to hang in there and come back from 22-6 down to 22-16 against an unbeaten team like Oldham showed that we are on the right lines in terms of commitment and application.

“I can live with losing as long as we are learning. We have to be patient. We will reap the rewards of all the hard work we are putting in now in the next two or three seasons.”
It was no mean feat for Roughyeds to remove the sting from the Scorpions on a hot day in Neath where The Gnoll is going to prove a graveyard for many a Northern team’s hopes and ambitions in the coming months.

[singlepic id=74 w=320 h=240 float=left] Tony B’s comments can be read in another separate piece. Suffice to say here that Roughyeds once again had to dig deep into their reserves of energy and physical resources to retain their 100 per cent league record, and the squad cannot be praised too highly for their desire to give everything for badge, shirt, club — and the fans.

A large number travelled to South Wales by car and coach and their optimism when chatting pre-match on motorway service areas was not misplaced, although the task was never as easy as one might have predicted when Lucas Onyango strode in for the first Oldham try after only 12 minutes.

The two Rodens, whose craft and experience around the rucks gave Roughyeds a big advantage in a vital area, combined well to turn Lucas on an inside run and the winger made no mistake to record his ninth try of the season.

Paul O’Connor, doing the goalkicking in the absence of the injured Matty Ashe, struck the ball firmly and accurately from well wide of the posts to the right to give the visitors an early 6-0 advantage.

Scorpions began well and put Oldham under a lot of defensive pressure before that, but they went through a spell when they completed only two sets in eight and this gave Roughyeds the opportunity to open the scoring with Lucas’s touchdown and then to go desperately close again when Mick Fogerty was judged to have hit the corner flag in the act of crossing the line.

Spreading the ball quickly from right to left, Danny Whitmore, Neil Roden and O’Connor all handled with speed and precision, but Foggy was narrowly denied as he plunged for the line.

Whitmore, playing at scrum-half, had an accomplished game as one of three changes in the Roughyeds side.

He came in for Ashe; Jamie I’Anson was on the bench in place of Wayne Kerr; and Chris Clarke returned after several weeks out with a broken wrist as the replacement for Craig Robinson.

[singlepic id=79 w=320 h=240 float=left]Whitmore was to crown his place in the starting line-up with a try later in the first half, but not before the Scorpions had hauled themselves strongly back into contention on the back of a fiery display from their forwards and some intelligent and varied kicking by stand-off Loz Wildbore.

Wildbore is the brains, the old head and the master tactician of this new side, and he didn’t disappoint.

Neither did South-African born but Wales-raised Christian Roets in the second-row —a strong, powerful and pacy runner who had a blinder of a game and caused Roughyeds problems all afternoon.

He looked certain to either score himself or set up a Scorpions try when he smashed through Oldham’s defensive wall for the first time only to send out, on tackle one, a misdirected and hurried pass to the wing, which saw the ball roll harmlessly into touch behind its supporting target.

Oldham’s reprieve was short-lived. A rare and uncharacteristic error in possession by Paul O’Connor, who otherwise had yet another consistently sound game, gave the home side more possession in the Roughyeds red zone and they made it count when hooker Steve Parry wriggled over from dummy half close to the line.[singlepic id=71 w=320 h=240 float=right]

Lloyd White added the goal for 6-6, but Oldham were to finish the half the stronger with tries by Whitmore and Fogerty to go into a 16-6 interval lead.

They were made to work hard for everything they could get, but they were rewarded when Luke Sutton got Scorpions on the back foot with a strong drive and quick play-the-ball. Martin Roden capitalised with a clever and decisive scoot from dummy half and with the home defence in disarray Whitmore spotted the gap from the back of another play-the-ball togo through it and score. O’Connor goaled again.

Four minutes later Oldham were in again. More pressure from the completion of six sets out of seven enabled the visitors to turn the screw when Martin Roden’s long, wide, flat cut-out pass to the left teased the defence into going for the interception and left Foggy with a walk-in. This time, from left of the posts, O’Connor kicked narrowly wide.

Not for the first time in recent games, Roughyeds seemed to find it difficult to pick up the tempo again after half time.

Aled James pushed off a couple of tired-looking tackles to cross for Scorpions but the try was disallowed on the say-so of a touchjudge for either a forward pass or a knock-on (play resumed with an Oldham scrum).

For long periods after that it was nip and tuck with both sides threatening to make busts up the middle against tiring defences, but never quite succeeding.

On 56 minutes, however, Roughyeds stretched their advantage still further thanks to that little bit of class and experience that separated the two teams. Scorpions were penalised for a grapple tackle on Joe Chandler and from the position gained, Neil Roden came up with a sublime delayed pass under the sticks which gave Jason Boults an almost free run to the line.

O’Connor goaled and at 22-6 it looked like game, set and match. Scorpions, to their credit, continued to play with the vim and vigour they had displayed all afternoon and Oldham visibly tired in the last 20 minutes when they conceded half a dozen penalties in a row to put themselves under awful pressure.

They had a couple of half chances down the left flank to ease that pressure, but in one of them Fogerty was badly knocked about when he went down awkwardly in a tackle and crashed his head on the hard pitch.

Happily, he was able to continue after treatment but within a minute Scorpions scored a superb lenth-of-the-field try after a stunning break by full-back Jamie Murphy and a strong finish from distance by the always-impressive Roets.

[singlepic id=73 w=320 h=240 float=left]White failed to add the goal points, but Roughyeds at this stage looked vulnerable as they conceded penalties and made errors in possession. From one of them, by Onyango, the home side scored their third try when winger Craig Richards ran the length of the pitch to score a try which White goaled well off the left-hand touchline.

Against a side brimming over with enthusiasm and relentless endeavour — and with five minutes still remaining — this was Oldham’s worse nightmare.

The lads had to dig deep and the fans were on tenterhooks as first Neil Roden and then Whitmore failed with hurried attempts to put over what would have been a decisive one-pointer.

As the minutes ticked by the tension mounted, but in the end Oldham hung on and came away with yet another hard-earned and hugely creditable victory. Well done once again to all concerned.

Scorers: Scorpions — goals, White (2); tries, Parry, Roets, Richards; Oldham — goals, O’Connor (3); tries, Onyango, Whitmore, Fogerty, Boults.

Scorpions: Murphy; D James, Williams, Bateman, Richards; Wildbore, Gay; Mills, Parry, Burke, Roets, James, White; subs: Dallimore, Phillips, Garville, Stoodley.

Oldham: O’Connor; Onyango, St Hilaire, Fogerty, Brocklehurst; N Roden, Whitmore; Boults, M Roden, Ellison, Heaton, Chandler, Bentley. Subs: I’Anson, Sutton, Reilly, Clarke.

Referee: Mr Craig Dolan (Dewsbury); att: 625.