Date published: Tuesday, May 3, 2011

ROUGHYEDS continued their climb up the Co-operative Championship One table with a polished and professional performance in scoring eight tries against Doncaster at Whitebank on Sunday (May 1).

Already without several players through injury, Tony Benson had to further adjust his team only minutes before kick-off when Lucas Onyango damaged an Achilles tendon in the pre-match warm-up.

He moved Mark Brocklehurst from centre to wing, pulled Paul Noone out of the pack and put him at right centre, elevated Valu Bentley from bench to second-row and gave 18th man Michael Ward his first-team debut as a substitute.

[singlepic id=663 w=320 h=240 float=left]Matthew Fogarty had recovered from injury, but two days before the game he withdrew because of a gastric problem, this resulting in the choice of Ben Wood at left-centre in place of Jack Bradbury, who had played in the Reserves’ win at Featherstone on the Friday night.

The subsequent loss of Onyango meant that Roughyeds went into the game with two second-row forwards in the centres — Noone and Wood.

Wood began the game in super fashion with two early tries and a series of thundering tackles on his opposite number Chris Spurr as Roughyeds turned round at half-time with a 16-10 lead.

The other first-half try, to go with two Carl Forber conversions, was scored by hooker John Clough, who raced away from dummy half just inside the home side’s half and sold the Dons full-back a stunning dummy to go over near the posts.

The Dons had scored an early try by winger Stuart Sanderson and they remained in contention with a try on the stroke of half time by hooker Kyle Kesik, which Scott Spaven converted.

Playing up the hill in the second half, Roughyeds needed to start brightly and they couldn’t have done it better with tries by Noone and Forber in the first eight minutes, both of them converted by Forber.

[singlepic id=653 w=320 h=240 float=right]Forber’s pass sent in Noone and then came debutant Ward’s big moment when he timed a pass to perfection to put Forber behind the posts.

Roughyeds never looked back after that and although they conceded three more tries they were in dominant mood whenever they had the ball, scoring further tries by Brocklehurst, Ben Heaton and Jason Boults.

Brocklehurst finished powerfully up the touchline to score in the corner on Forber’s cut out pass; full-back Heaton added a solo beauty from the half-way line; and Boults crashed over from close range on Martin Roden’s short ball.

The game became a little scrappy in the last few minutes and, eight minutes from time, Kesik and Boults were both sent off after a midfield incident, Kesik for a high tackle and Boults for retaliating to it.

Nevertheless, this was another fine performance by an Oldham side that overcame a lot of adversity to record its third Whitebank win in a row, scoring a total of 25 tries in the process.

[singlepic id=639 w=320 h=240 float=right]Ben Heaton won the sponsors’ man-of-the-match award and Luke Sutton, who had his best game of the season so far, was given the champagne-moment prize for his overall contribution on attack and defence.

Everybody played well from 1 to 17,but among others who particularly caught the eye were Brocklehurst, Wood, John Gillam (in his first game for three months), Forber, Clough and Chris Clarke.

Scorers: Oldham — goals, Forber (7); tries, Wood (2), Clough, Noone, Forber, Brocklehurst, Heaton, Boults; Doncaster — goals, Spaven (2); tries, Sanderson, Kesik, Colton, C Hughes, Spaven.

Referee: C Sharrad; Att: 672.