Oldham reserves v Featherstone reserves

Date published: Monday, April 19, 2010

Featherstone 42 Oldham 30

ROUGHYEDS reserves gave as good as they got, and went close to pulling off an upset, in a 42-30 defeat at Featherstone in their opening league game of 2010.

Down 24-12 at half-time, they dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half to score three tries to one in that period and to pull the score back to 30-26.

Over all, they scored only one try fewer than Featherstone — seven to six — and the home side owed much to the deadly accurate goalkicking of Alan Dobek, who landed seven conversions out of seven from all angles.

Oldham coach John Hough said afterwards that he was ‘a little bit disappointed at the result but certainly not downhearted’.

He went on: “We did well to get ourselves into a position to win the game. The definitive moment was when Sean Hamilton went under the posts at 30-16 only for the touchjudge to rule that he had knocked-on. That was the game-breaker because just at that time we had a roll on playing down the slope and we were well on top.

“Rovers later went three tries up on us and that was it, but I was pleased we kept competing to the end and that we were rewarded by scoring the last try of of the game.

“Individually, there were some good performances right across the board but there were also some that were not as good, and that is something we can address when we play in the Cheltenham Festives nine-a-side competition next Saturday and then go to York on the following Thursday night.”

Roughyeds went into the game without Paul Ashton, who had a work commitment, and without the injured Ross Coates and Dean Hatton, who fractured a thumb on his debut in a pre-season friendly at Dewsbury. He is expected back soon.

Also unavailable on the night was the squad’s player mentor Francis Maloney, this due to a family bereavement. All connected with the club send their deepest condolences to Francis and the family.

Roughyeds welcomed back, after injury, senior players John Gillam and Kashley Watkins and they also included, at stand-off, new signing Ian Hodson.

Team: Marc Kellett; Sean Hamilton, Jamie Knight, Michael Ward, John Gillam; Ian Hodson, Mick Diveney; Jacob Kinney, Dale Lowe, Ben Mellor, Mark Smith, Kashley Watkins, Ben Marsden. Subs: Austen Barrowclough, Michael Cadd, Simon Moores, Johnny Fullalove.

Early Oldham tries by Watkins and Diveney, both goaled by Diveney, meant it was all square at 12-12 until the last eight minutes of the first half.

Watkins plucked a high crossfield kick from Diveney out of the air to sidestep the full-back and go behind the posts.

A strong midfield break by Gillam set up position for the next try with Hodson cleverly producing a kick of sliderule perfection to enable Diveney to race through and touch down to score a lovely try.

Roughyeds would have been delighted to turn round level, with use of the slope still to come, but in the last eight minutes of the half they conceded two converted tries, the second of them the direct result of a lucky rebound off a defender with a kick on the last tackle.

They had to score first in the second half to prevent Rovers stretching their lead still further and they took only four minutes to do it with the powerful Cadd crashing over in the corner, but too far out for Diveney to add the extras.

The forceful driving up front of Cadd and Jacob Kinney was a feature of the Oldham peformance, but the team’s defence was not always as good as its attack and Roughyeds conceded a ‘soft’ try with some pretty average tackling as Rovers went out to 30-16.

The disallowed Hamilton effort followed, created by another blockbusting drive by Kinney, but there was no denying the visitors when first Austen Barrowclough squeezed in from dummy half close to the line and then Jamie Knight forced his way over in the right-hand corner.

Diveney converted Barrowclough’s try but was wide with his kick after the Knight try. Nevertheless, Roughyeds were only 30-26 down now and Rovers were visibly showing signs of creaking under pressure.

It required something special from them to take the initiative away from Oldham and it came in the form of two tries from full-back Tom Carr in the 68th and 72nd minutes, the first after he exposed more suspect defence on a determined solo run and the second when, like Barrowclough for Oldham earlier, he got the touchdown from acting half-back on the line.

The deadly accurate goalkicking of Dobek was invaluable to Rovers in an otherwise tight game, but credit Oldham with fighting to the end. They were rewarded when good attacking rugby from right to left created a half chance for Gillam up the touchline and he took it with a strong piece of finishing in the corner.