Oldham reserves v Hunslet reserves

Date published: Monday, June 21, 2010

HALF-BACK Mick Diveney scored 19 points as Roughyeds’ reserves twice came from behind to win 31-28 in a tight game at Hunslet on Friday night.

They trailed 18-6 after half an hour and 28-24 midway through the second half before prop Ben Marsden’s late try levelled the scores and Diveney’s boot carried his side to its fourth win in a row, writes ROGER HALSTEAD.

Diveney ran in two tries and kicked four conversions, a penalty goal and a drop goal to give John Hough’s boys their fifth win from seven outings in the Reserves Championship.

Full-back Mark Brocklehurst and replacement hooker Dean Hatton, who gave a superb performance off the bench, scored Oldham’s other tries in a 12-minute spell either side of half-time in which Roughyeds turned an 18-6 deficit into a 24-18 lead.

Hunslet got back in front with two tries while Oldham’s Mark Smith was in the sin-bin for delaying a restart, but Hough then sent back Hatton for his second spell and the hooker’s devastating dummy-half breaks gave the visitors a decisive advantage in the closing minutes of a thriller.

Roughyeds were still required to defend desperately in the dying seconds when a superb try-saving tackle by winger Danny Chetwynd on Hunslet’s pacy centre George Rayner saved the day.

Relieved boss Hough said: “I haven’t much hair left. We were given a huge fright and it will possibly give us a kick up the backside. We played well in patches, but at other times we were poor. Mark Smith’s spell in the sin-bin didn’t help.

“Dean Hatton took us forward at key moments in the game, but we need to learn that in tight games like this we have to earn the right to win.

“We got there in the end, but it wasn’t pretty. It was an ugly win, but I guess it’s a good team that can win ugly when it hasn’t played all that well.

“Hunslet fielded a much stronger side than the one we beat at Whitebank a fortnight ago, but we didn’t react accordingly and that was disappointing.

“We have plenty to work on in the build-up to next Saturday’s tough test at Whitehaven, who are up there with Leigh and Featherstone at the top of the league.

“Hatton was very lively. It was the last throw of the dice to put him on for a second spell late in the game and he managed to conjure up something for Ben Marsden to score the all-important try.

“I wasn’t happy when Mark Smith got himself sin-binned, but I asked him to give me everything he had when he got back on the pitch and he certainly did that when we came from behind to win it.”

Hunslet went 6-0 up thanks to the exhilarating pace of full-back Nathan Larvin, who blitzed Oldham’s right-side defence to set up a try for winger Lewis Straughn.

The robust Michael Ward put Diveney in for the first of his two tries, but Roughyeds continued to be troubled on their right side wide out and they went 18-6 down before the first fightback began.

Hatton, coming off the bench, sparked it off with a blind-side try from dummy half and minutes later Mark Brocklehurst went in through the same channel after a defender had shot out of the line in vain pursuit of an interception.

Diveney kicked beautifully to convert both tries and then added a penalty in the last play of the first half when Hunslet were caught offside following Kashley Watkins’s charge-down of a clearing kick.

Roughyeds led 20-18 at half-time and went further ahead with Diveney’s second try minutes into the new half.

The visitors seemed to be getting on top to stay, but Smith’s yellow card handed the initiative back to Hunslet, who also seemed to benefit from the decision to spell props Marsden and Ben Mellor and the dangerous Hatton.

The Hawks scored two tries to regain the lead at 28-24, but the return of Smith and the Marsden-Hatton-Mellor front-row gave Roughyeds the impetus to stage their second rally, this time the decisive one.

Hatton fashioned the equalising try for the hard-working Marsden and Diveney did the rest with an easy conversion followed by his late drop goal.

The exciting stuff still wasn’t finished, though. Watkins came into his own late on as a wide runner on the right and, like prop Michael Cadd in the first half, he was recalled for a forward pass when completely in the clear.

It then needed Chetwynd’s stunning cover tackle on Rayner, followed by some inspirational goal-line defence, to see Roughyeds home.

Scorers: Drop goal, Diveney; goals, Diveney (5); tries, Diveney (2), Hatton, Brocklehurst, Marsden.

Team: Brocklehurst; McMullen, J Knight, Walker, Chetwynd; Diveney, Connick; Marsden, Mansfied, Mellor, Ward, Watkins, Bentley. Subs: Hatton, Cadd, Joy, Smith.