Oldham 40 – 20 Whitehaven

Date published: Monday, July 4, 2011

ROUGHYEDS produced arguably their best performance of the season to beat Whitehaven 40-20 at Whitebank on Sunday (July 3) despite the loss in the first half of prop Dave Ellison with a severely dislocated elbow.

The Cumbrians came to town boasting an eight-match unbeaten run — the longest in the pro game — but they were well and truly beaten, our boys scoring seven tries to their four and at one stage in the game piling on 28 unanswered points in the space of 25 minutes.

Leading up to Elly’s injury it was 4-4, Mark Brocklehurst having scored in the corner for Roughyeds on a brilliantly-executed finger-tip pass by Matty Fogarty, and Andrew Beattie having equalised with a try for the visitors.

[singlepic id=788 w=320 h=240 float=left]The game was held up for 15 minutes while Elly was attended to on the pitch and soon after the resumption Haven went in front for the first time with a try out wide on the left by centre Scott McAvoy.

Showing great fortitude, Roughyeds then recovered magnificently from a dodgy spell to get on top with two tries in the run-up to half-time, the first by winger Shaun Robinson after good build-up work by John Clough and Neil Roden and the second by the impressive Ben Heaton, who somehow bamboozled four covering defenders before crossing the line.

Roughyeds had played up the slope in the first half and into a gentle breeze, but they turned round with a 14-8 lead and in the knowledge that they would be heading downhill in the second period.

Haven would have been desperate to score first in the second half, but it was Oldham who extended their lead in the 46th minute when Callum Casey’s inch-perfect cross-kick to the right found Fogarty timing his run and leap to perfection to gather and drop over the line for a great try.

Oldham had to defend magnificently after that as Haven fought hard to get back into the game. Our goal-line tackling and scrambling was first-class with every man playing his part and refusing to buckle under pressure.

As often happens in those circumstances we were rewarded with another try on the counter-attack by Clough and not long afterwards Martin Roden chipped the ball into the Haven goal area and Luke Stenchion showed terrific anticipation and agility for a front-row forward to read the situation and fly under the posts to grab the touchdown.

Carl Forber converted each of the second-half tries to his one in the first half with the result that Oldham led 32-8 going into the last ten minutes with victory surely out of Whitehaven’s reach now.

[singlepic id=794 w=320 h=240 float=left]However, in a hectic finale Haven scored two converted tries by centre Max Wiper thanks to Carl Rudd’s clever kicking and sharp support play by Lewis Palfrey. Not to be denied Roughyeds finished off on a high note also with Ben Heaton going in for his second try and Forber adding two more goals.

Scorers: Oldham — goals Forber (6); tries, Brocklehurst, Robinson, Heaton (2), Fogarty, Clough, Stenchion; Whitehaven — goals, Palfrey (2); tries, Beattie, McAvoy, Wiper (2).

Oldham: Heaton; Brocklehurst, Fogarty, McCully, Robinson; N Roden, Forber; Boults, M Roden, Stenchion, Noone, Bravo, Bentley. Subs: Casey, Clough, Sutton, Ellison.

Whitehaven: Benson; Hamzat, Wiper, McAvoy, Calvert; Palfrey, Rudd; Haggerty, Smith, Hill, S Miller, Doran, Beattie. Subs: Sice, Isakka, Culnean, D Miller.

Referee: G Stokes; Att: 537.