Oldham RL under-20s

Date published: Monday, May 20, 2013

DESPITE right-winger Mike Halsall’s two well-finished tries in the corner, Oldham RL under-20s were beaten 36-24 by York City Knights at Whitebank on Friday night.
Normally a full-back, Halsall was switched to the wing to make way at No 1 for first-teamer Steven Nield, who fashioned each of the winger’s tries by linking up with the threequarters and creating space for Halsall with wide, cut-out passes to the flank.
Halsall still had plenty to do, however, to find the line and touch down despite the close attention of vigorous covering defenders.
His second try, ten minutes into the second half, edged Oldham in front for the third time at 18-16, but the home side failed to deal with York’s restart kick in what turned out to be the defining moment of the game.
Roughyeds paid heavily for their lapse with York regaining the initiative to score three tries in ten minutes and take the game out of reach.
Other Oldham try scorers were scrum-half Sam Singleton in the first half and hooker Sam Gee, the club vice-captain, who forced his way over from dummy half close to the line ten minutes from the end.
Singleton scored under the posts after a Gee thrust from acting half-back, followed by Liam Thompson’s slick execution in supporting his hooker’s break and then providing Singleton with a free run to the line.
This took Roughyeds into a 12-6 lead, but in a tough, physical and highly intense game fought out by two totally committed sides, the City Knights turned round 16-12 in front thanks to two quick tries by pacy centre Greg Minikin.
Nield converted each of Oldham’s four tries, but York touched down seven times to deny Phil Costin’s men a third win in a row.
Said coach Costin: “It was the fastest, most intense game we’ve had all season. York would have found us unrecognisable from the side they beat easily in a pre-season game.
“Most of the boys are very young for under-20s rugby, but we are moving in the right direction. There were some very good performances.”
Team: Nield; Halsall, Bickerstaff, Wilson, R Ward; Fitzsimmons, Singleton; Gilchrist, Gee, Hall, S Hughes, Hargreaves, Thompson. Subs: Wareing, Ball, Rasool, Ashbrook.