Oldham 23 Halifax 22

Date published: Monday, July 7, 2014
ICE-COOL Tom Dempsey’s late drop goal gave Oldham RL under-20s a 23-22 win against Championship club Halifax at Whitebank on Saturday.

Aged 17, and the youngest player at the club, Dempsey showed a maturity well beyond his years to convert three of his side’s four tries with great goals from wide out, two of them off the left touchline.
But it was the young full-back’s one-pointer a few minutes before the end, with Oldham leading 22-16, which was to prove decisive.
It gave the home side a seven-point cushion and it was just enough to keep the Roughyeds ahead even though Halifax got to within one point with a converted try in the dying seconds.
When these teams met in April, Halifax edged it 27-24 with a drop goal and then a penalty by Brad Delaney in the last five minutes.
But there was no denying Oldham this time in another tight contest in which they recovered from a slow start to lead 22-10 at half-time with tries by Phil Bickerstaff, Luke Kavanagh, Sam Singleton and George Tyson plus Dempsey’s three goals.
Tyson was outstanding in Oldham’s second-row, both on attack and defence.
He constantly smashed his way through Halifax’s right flank; he tackled and covered relentlessly; and he stopped a certain try by the Yorkshiremen early in the second half with a stunning tackle on Oldham’s line.
Richard Joy, Liam Thompson, Paddy Mooney, Singleton and Rhys Wareing also showed up well in a hard-working Oldham pack.
“It was a big help to have the services of Thompson, Mooney and Tyson from the first-team squad, but Mooney and Tyson are still youngsters themselves — only 20 — and ‘Thompo’ (Thompson) isn’t much older,” said coach Neil Roden.
“We played some great rugby in the first half and then in the second half, when we weren’t quite as good, we made up for it by digging in and showing lots of character.”
Oldham: drop goal, Dempsey; goals, Dempsey (3); tries, Bickerstaff, Kavanagh, Singleton, Tyson;
Halifax: goals, Delaney (3); tries, Barron (2), Casey, Shulver.
Oldham team: Dempsey; Dootson, Valentine, Bickerstaff, Kavanagh; Flanagan, J Hughes; B Roden, Ball, R Joy, Tyson, Thompson, Singleton. Subs: Wareing, Hall, Gilks, Mooney.
Roden’s men are at Whitebank again next Saturday when they play Gloucester (2.30pm kick off), the day before the All Golds’ first team are here in a tasty-looking Kingstone Press Championship One fixture (3pm kick off).