Oldham 42 Coventry Bears 6

Date published: Monday, March 2, 2015

WE got the 2015 season off to a highly satisfactory start with a rock-solid performance in awful conditions to beat Coventry Bears 42-6 at Whitebank in round one of the iPro Sport League One Cup.

Fewer than 300 fans braved the Arctic-like conditions, but those who did were treated to a splended Roughyeds’ performance in which we scored seven tries — four of them out wide in the corners thanks to the strong finishing of wingers Adam Clay and Jarrod Ward.
Each scored two tries, Adam following kicks by Steve Roper and Lewis Palfrey, while Jarrod twice employed speed, strength and sidestep to dive in at the corner flag past a crowded defence.
There were other slick tries too.
Gareth Owen put Adam Neal in for the first and then followed, midway through the first half, one of the best of the game.
Neal slipped Nathan Mason through a midfield gap with a cute inside ball and the big prop went 30 metres up the middle before finding Lewis Palfrey on his outside. Lewis in turn handed on to the supporting Jack Holmes, who finished off a great move by scoring near the posts.
Ben Tyers pulled one back for the Bears, but we finished the half strongly with Clay’s double up, both of them converted off the touchline by immaculate goalkicking from our captain.
Lewis P finished with a 100 per cent goalkicking record of seven from seven — four of them off the touchline — in conditions that could only be described as appalling.
This was all the more creditable because it was Lewis’s first game back after a hernia operation.
Although we were playing up the hill in the second half we dominated play to score three more unanswered tries — the two from Jarrod following a delightful touchdown by Mason after excellent approach play from Adam Files and Michael Ward.
It was a pleasing all-round performance with which to kick off the new season, but next Sunday, when Coventry are again at Whitebank in the third round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup, we will be hoping for better weather and a lot more support to take a look at the squad we have assembled for what promises to be an exciting 2015 campaign.
Oldham scorers — goals, Palfrey 7/7; tries, Neal, Holmes, Clay (2), Mason, J Ward (2).
Team: Holmes; Clay, Gee, Tyson, J Ward; Palfrey, Roper; Neal, Owen, P Joy, Crowley, Roberts, Johnson. Subs: Files, M Ward, Mason, Thompson.
Referee: D Merrick.