Oldham 45 Newcastle Thunder 20Date published: Tuesday, May 19, 2015
ADAM Clay grabbed a hat-trick of tries, taking his total for the season to 12, as Oldham went back to the top of Kingstone Press League One with an accomplished all-round performance in a 45-20 win against Newcastle Thunder.
In a terrific game that was a credit to third-tier rugby and a credit to both teams, Thunder pulled back from 28-8 down at half-time to get within touching distance of the home side at 28-20 before Roughyeds regained their composure and momentum to score 17 unanswered points in the last quarter of an hour.
Thunder were first on the scoreboard but Oldham, defending an unbeaten record in league-match rugby at Whitebank which stretches back more than two years, responded superbly with four tries in the next quarter of an hour, all of them with lively hooker Gareth Owen to the fore.
With Oldham dominating the game going down the slope, thanks mainly to the powerful driving of Phil Joy, Adam Neal and Josh Johnson, Thunder were constantly on the back foot.
Owen capitalised the most with an outstanding performance in the first half hour before he was given a break and substituted by Kenny Hughes.
Oldham: Steven Nield; Adam Clay, George Tyson, Sam Gee, Jarrod Ward; Lewis Palfrey, Steven Roper; Adam Neal, Gareth Owen, Phil Joy, Josh Crowley, Danny Langtree, Josh Johnson; Subs, Nathan Mason, Michael Ward, Liam Thompson, Kenny Hughes.
Tries: Roper (10), Owen (16), Clay (18, 71, 80), Langtree (25), Nield (38), Palfrey (65); Drop goal, Palfrey 1/1; Goals, Palfrey 6/8.
Ref: Dave Merrick; attendance: 491.