Date published: Monday, April 2, 2012

WE opened up a two-point lead at the top of the table with this superb win over Barrow in a cracking game at Whitebank that was a credit to the quality of rugby league in Co-operative Championship One.


As the score would suggest it was nip and tuck from start to finish and the sort of intense encounter you would expect from two sides occupying the top two positions in the league table.


There was a surprise for supporters before kick off when the teams were announced without each of the respective leaders on the pitch —- Oldham’s Neil Roden and Barrow’s Darren Holt.

Both were nursing injuries so in at stand-off came Danny Whitmore for Roughyeds and Scott Kaighan for Barrow.

Barrow had first use of wind and slope and went into an early lead with a try by Barry Pugh which Kaighan converted.

Roughyeds twice broke out of defence on the counter attack to score two quick tries — the first an interception from half way by Lucas Onyango and the second a well-worked effort by the forwards, finished off under the sticks by David Ellison.[singlepic id=1164 w=320 h=240 float=left]

Jamie Dallimore converted both for a 12-6 lead, but back came the Raiders with tries by Jack Pedley and Martin Ostler,both goaled by Kaighan for an 18-12 lead. It looked as though Raiders would turn round in front but with only two minutes to go to the interval Danny Whitmore took Paul Smith’s inside ball to sweep around two wrong-footed defenders and get the touch down.

Dally goaled, 18-18 at half time and all to play for.

Roughyeds would have been reasonably happy with that, given that Raiders had had most of the ball and territorial advantage up to then and the home side could now look forwaerd to playing with the wind behind them towards the bottom end of the ground.

Tony B’s men came out for the second half with all guns blazing and scored two tries in the first ten minutes — the first a superb sidestepping effort by Dallimore and the second one a try for centre David Cookson after great work by Miles Greenwood.

Dally converted his own from in front of the posts but was narrowly wide with the touchline attempt after Cookson’s try. Nevertheless, we led 28-18 and things were starting to lookgood.

Barrow gradually regained their composure, however, and held us out for a further 20 minutes before striking back themselves with a good try in the corner by winger JamesNixon.

Kaighan missed the kick, but Raiders were only six points down now in a tight and tense affair that kept fans on tenterhooks until the final hooter.

It needed a try by Miles Greenwood, who followed Whitty’s grubber into the in-goal area, to give us a bit of breathing space,but even then the Raiders were not finished and a two two minutes from time by James Finch set up a grandstand finish in which we held on to record a great win.

Scorers: Oldham — goals, Dallimore (4); tries, Onyango, Ellison, Whitmore, Dallimore, Cookson, Greenwood; Barrow — goals, Kaighan (3); tries, Pugh, Pedley, Ostler, Nixon, J Finch.

Oldham: Greenwood; Onyango, Cookson, McCully, P Ballard; Whitmore, Dallimore; Boults, M Roden, Johnson, Noone, Smith, Clarke. Subs: Thompson, Clough, Ellison, Syron.

Barrow: A Ballard; Haney, Larkin, J Finch, Nixon; Kaighan, Campbell; Bracek, L Finch, Dutton, Harrison, Pugh, Toal. Subs: Pedley, Ostler, Gordon, Dawson.

Referee: Clint Sharrad; Att: 1,114.