Oldham RL reserves in final

Date published: Monday, August 20, 2012

COACH Paul Ashton took the philosophical view of his Oldham side’s heavy defeat in the Reserve Championship (under-23s) play-off final at Featherstone.
A year ago, with Ashton as John Hough’s assistant, the Roughyeds’ second team finished second in the league behind Widnes Vikings and then beat them in the final to win a trophy for the first time.
This year, with Ashton in charge, they finished third behind Featherstone and Halifax, but won at Halifax in the play-off semi-final only to suffer a 72-6 hammering at Featherstone in a one-sided final.
Oldham were the only side all season to take anything off an outstanding and unbeaten Rovers side, who were held to a 30-30 draw at Whitebank a few weeks ago.
Said Ashton: “We were outclassed in the final by a team that has been trouncing everybody all season. We gave away too many penalties and when you do that a class act like Featherstone will punish you.
“As the only Championship One team in the competition, though, it was a major achievement just to reach the final two years on the run.
“We have a lot of promising young players coming through and things are looking good for the club’s future.
“We must aim for a bigger squad next year with key men in key roles and if we do that we can strive in the longer term to emulate what Featherstone have done.
“They have a fantastic set-up and have set the standard for clubs like Oldham to follow.”
Ashton pointed out that six of the young players in the Roughyeds’ senior side that beat a hugely-experienced Workington last weekend — David Cookson, Michael Ward, Jamie Dallimore, Alex Thompson, Chris Clarke and Danny Langtree — were all products of the club’s decision to launch a reserve team four years ago.
Oldham lived with Rovers for the first 20 minutes of last Saturday’s final, scoring a great try by full-back Benji Lloyd from Tommy Connick’s cross kick to level at 6-6 after quarter of an hour thanks to Steve Nield’s conversion.
The home side then rattled in four converted tries in ten minutes and went on to lead 36-6 at half-time before piling on another 36 points in the second half as Roughyeds lost their way.
Team: Lloyd; Worrall, Brocklehurst, Nield, Mulkeen; Connick, Hilliard; Joy, Moran, Cunningham, Langtree, Hinsley, Dean. Subs: Noon, Hughes, Johnson, Wood-Hulme.