Oldham 54 GATESHEAD 16

Date published: Tuesday, May 28, 2013
WE made it three league wins out of the last four games with a nine-try triumph against Gateshead Thunder at Whitebank, highlighted by a brace of touchdowns from the outstanding Adam Files.
Other tries were scored by Danny Langtree, Kenny Hughes, Jon Ford, Jason Boults, Dale Bloomfield, Richard Lepori and Phil Joy, while Lewis Palfrey kicked beautifully to land nine conversions from as many attempts.
Thunder went 12-0 up inside the first eight minutes, but gradually we took control while playing up the hill to lead 18-12 at half-time and then to take complete command of proceedings down the slope in the second half to finish up worthy winners at 54-16.
This despite the early loss, while trailing 0-12, of our on-loan half-back Danny Whitmore, who had to quit with an arm injury in only his second appearance for the Roughyeds since signing from his parent club, Batley Bulldogs.
Scott Naylor handed the job of replacing Whitmore, and partnering Palfrey at half-back, to hooker Kenny Hughes, who made a sterling job of playing in a key pivotal role and one in which he had not played much previously, at least not since he was a junior.
It was his solo try from first receiver on the half hour which put Roughyeds in front for the first time and paved the way for the points avalanche that was to follow.
It was largely an all-round team effort that dismantled the Thunder defence so comprehensively, but special merit awards perhaps go to the likes of full-back Lepori, prop Phil Joy, hooker Files, Hughes and utility forward Michael Ward.
Roughyeds took quite a while to get their act together, but once they did they played some entertaining, crowd-pleasing rugby which produced our  highest score of the season so far and took us one position up the league, from fifth to fourth.
It is very tight, however, and if we were to win our game in hand we would be in second place, with the second best defensive record in the division and the second best for-and-against points total, bettered in each case only by unbeaten league leaders North Wales Crusaders.
The crowd was 489 and we will be hoping for a better turn-out when we play another home game at Whitebank this coming Sunday, June 2, against London Skolars, kick-off 3pm.
Oldham scorers: goals, Palfrey (9); tries, Langtree, Files (2), Hughes, Ford, Boults, Bloomfield, Lepori, Joy.
Team: Lepori; Agoro, Cookson, Ford, Bloomfield; Palfrey, Whitmore; Gilchrist, Gee, Joy, Crowley, Langtree, Thompson. Subs: Files, Hughes, Ward, Boults.
Thunder: L Hardcastle; Johnson, Brown, Heil, Caro; Condron,B Hardcastle; Payne, Stamp, Green, Cockburn, Latus, Smith. Subs: Neilson, Fewlass, Borthwick, Welton.
Ref: Jamie Bloem; Att: 489.