North Wales 30 – 28 Oldham RLFC

Date published: Monday, June 11, 2012

ONCE again it was a case of ‘so near, yet so far’ in the game against North Wales Crusaders at Wrexham.

In the last minute John Clough put David Ellison under the sticks for a certain winner, but the try was disallowed for a forward pass — a devastating ruling for Roughyeds, who now go back to April 1 for their last league win.

[singlepic id=1362 w=320 h=240 float=left]Two disallowed tries, a gilt-edged chance bombed and a penalty count of 15-5 in favour of Crusaders all added up to another loss, which means we need to beat Rochdale and Whitehaven, our two main rivals for the fourth promotion spot, in our next two games if we are to retain a realistic chance of going up.

Yet again we got a bonus point out of it — our fifth — but we could and should have had all three points on offer after going in at the interval with a 22-10 lead and looking more than capable of finishing the job in the second half.

We began badly and quickly went 10-0 down, but we then pulled ourselves together to totally dominate the last 20 minutes of the first half.

Michael Ward scored twice, then Ellison went in and finally, on the stroke of half-time, Danny Whitmore burst through a two-man challenge to cross near the posts for Chris Holroyde to land his third conversion from four attempts.

We needed to score first in the second half to really put the Crusaders on the rack, but when John Gillam got over in the corner off a wide ball from Neil Roden, the referee talked to his touchjudge before disallowing it.

We were totally unable to satisfy the demands of the referee in the second half when we conceded eight penalties to none, which meant Crusaders had most of the possession and most of the good field position.

They made it count with two tries to reduce our lead to 22-20, at which point Miles Greenwood made amends for a missed try-scoring opportunity a minute later by chasing Neil Roden’s kick to score under the posts. Holroyde goaled again and we led 28-20 with 18 minutes left on the clock.

Sadly, we made a mess of retrieving the restart kick; Crusaders had the ball from the scrum; and we never saw it again until home centre Leon Brennan had run in two tries wide out, the second of them goaled by Tommy Johnson to put the home side 30-28 in front.

Then came the heartbreaking decision to disallow Elly’s try, which just about summed up the events of the afternoon.

Scorers: Oldham — goals, Holroyde (4); tries, Ward (2), Ellison, Whitmore, Greenwood; NWC — goals, Broadbent (1), Johnson (2); tries, Brennan (3), Sheen, Clay, Smith.

NWC: Johnson; Clay, Broadbent, Brennan, Massam; Moulsdale, Sheen; Walker, Hudson, I Brown, Gorski, Morrison, Stephens. Subs: Smith, Trumper, Adamson, O Brown.

Oldham: Greenwood; Holroyde, Brocklehurst, McCully, Gillam; N Roden, Whitmore; Boults, M Roden, Tootill, Ward, Bentley, Reed. Subs: Clough, Roche, Ellison, Gilchrist.

Referee: Matt Thomason; Att: 824.