Oldham 34 Gateshead 16

Date published: Tuesday, July 16, 2013

WE made it four wins out of five, including pre-season matches, with our 34-16 win against Gateshead in Sunday’s Northern Rail Cup group fixture at Whitebank.

In order to make maximum use of his squad and to keep as many players as possible match fit, Scott made three changes of personnel, bringing in hooker Kenny Hughes, prop Phil Joy and half-back Neil Roden in place of Michael Ward, Chris Tyrer and  Jamie Dallimore.
Adam Files, one of the youngest members of a young squad at 19, got his first start at hooker and responded with an impressive display from dummy half.
In terms of doing the basics well we began where we had left off against Rochdale, and we totally dominated the first half to lead 22-0 at half-time with tries by Lewis Palfrey, Danny Langtree (2) and Josh Crowley and three conversions by skipper Palfrey.
Our set completion rate in the first half hour was bordering on perfect and our kicking game at the end of these sets, shared by Roden and Palfrey, was good enough to keep Thunder under pressure and to earn us back-to-back sets on at least three occasions.
Thunder came more into the game in the second half, when they had use of the slope, and our forwards found it tough going on a heavy pitch and against the slope and at a time when the rucks became much slower and significantly scrappy and untidy.
The visitors pegged us back to 28-16 by scoring three second-half tries to another one for us by Crowley, but they were denied a bonus point when, two minutes from the end, the impressive Crowley completed his hat-trick by popping up on the end of a superb right-to-left shift when the ball was whipped through several pairs of hands with speed and precision.
We complete our NRC group fixtures at South Wales Scorpions this coming Sunday and then it’s the big one on Good Friday when we entertain Rochdale at Whitebank (3pm kick off) in our opening match of the Kingstone Press Championship One campaign.
Don’t miss that, it should be a cracker ! See you there.
Scorers v Gateshead — goals, Palfrey (5); tries, Palfrey, Langtree (2), Crowley (3).
Team: Lepori; Agoro, Samuel, Nield, Bloomfield; Palfrey, Roden; Boults, Files, Gilchrist, Crowley, Langtree, Hobson. Subs: Hughes, Gee, Marriott, Joy.
Ref: J Cobb (Leigh); Attendance: 476.