Oldham 28 Hunslet Warriors 16

Date published: Monday, March 7, 2011

WE duly progressed to the fourth round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup with a hard-fought 28-16 win against the amateurs of Hunslet Warriors at Whitebank.

To say the Warriors did themselves proud with their performance on the field would be an understatement and it must be said that one or two Roughyeds fans were getting the collywobbles when the visitors pulled back to 16-16 midway through the second half.

We began well enough with a try in the third minute by Chris Clarke after Neil Roden had spotted a gap up the middle in the Warriors’ defensive line. Mick Diveney added the goal.

More Roughyeds attack looked likely to be rewarded again, but Warriors winger Arron Niles turned the game on its head as early as the eighth minute with a length-of-the-field interception try, sweeping on to Diveney’s wide ball to the flank to race away up the touchline and score at the other end, too far out for Gary McClelland convert.

Roughyeds then had to withstand pressure from four or five back-to-back Warriors sets before they scored two tries in six minutes by Matthew Fogarty and Mark Brocklehurst, the two wingers.

Fogarty capitalised on Neil Roden’s high kick to the posts and then Brocklehurst scored in the corner on the opposite flank after what was arguably Roughyeds’ best bit of rugby in the entire game.

At 16-4 up we seemed to be going well, but Warriors kept their heads up; continued to work hard; and got themselves back in the game with a superb try on the stroke of half-time by centre Mark Cunningham. They caught Roughyeds on the hop with a long kick downfield direct from a scrum, on the first tackle, and Cunningham used his exceptional speed to get to the ball first and carry it over the line for a great try. McClelland added the easy goal and the amateurs went in for half-time trailing only 16-10.

Roughyeds continued to make life difficult for themselves on the resumption by forcing passes and returning a lot of possession to the Warriors.

And they were made to pay for their deficiencies midway through the second half when Warriors again used the same tactic of kicking on tackle one from a scrum for Cunningham to score his second try — a carbon copy of the first. McClelland’s touchline kick just made it over the bar and the scores were locked at 16-16.

Warriors must still be kicking themselves for conceding two quick penalties on the resumption set and it was from the second of these that Diveney landed a fine goal to put Roughyeds back in the lead.

By this time the visitors were feeling the pinch a bit as Roughyeds attacked down the slope and it needed terrific defence to deny Oldham another try when Jack Bradbury was forced into touch-in-goal. There was no denying Roughyeds, however, when Neil Roden linked with Paul Noone to score in the left-hand corner. The conversion was a crucial one and Diveney duly obliged from the touchline to give the home side the insurance of an eight-point lead at 24-16.

The game was as good as up now and Roughyeds added a fifth and final try near the end when Ben Wood got over in the right-hand corner after good work on approach by Neil Roden and Chris Clarke.

Scorers: Oldham – goals, Diveney (4); tries, Clarke, Fogarty, Brocklehurst, N Roden, Wood; Warriors — goals, McClelland (2); tries, Cunningham (2), Niles.

Oldham: Heaton; Fogarty, St Hilaire, Bradbury, Brocklehurst; N Roden, Diveney; Boults, M Roden, Sutton, Wood, Noone, Clarke. Subs: Clough, Bentley, Ellison, Wood-Hulme.

Warriors: McClelland; Hartley, Swift, Cunningham, Niles; Lyons, Baker; Sebine, Pratt, Dawon, Angus, Medhi, Bravo. Subs: Holmes, Featherstone, Gale, Milner.

Referee: Chris Leatherbarrow; Att: 538.