Oldham RL under-20s

Date published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
DESPITE scoring five tries to Halifax’s four, Oldham RL under-20s narrowly failed to pick up their first win of the season when beaten 27-24 by Halifax at Whitebank on Saturday.
With three minutes left and the scores locked at 24-24, Roughyeds stand-off Tom Dempsey had a drop-goal attempt charged down.
Halifax, aided in a rain-swept second-half by wind and slope, immediately took play to the other end where Brad Delaney edged the visitors ahead with a one-pointer.
Oldham’s restart kick went out on the full, whereupon Delaney kicked a wind-assisted penalty from the half-way line to bring play to a close.
In a match-winning performance, he also converted each of the four Halifax tries whereas Dempsey failed to add to each of Oldham’s first three tries which were all scored in the corner.
Neil Roden’s men played some cracking wing-to-wing rugby in the first half to register tries by Phil Bickerstaff and David Cookson out wide on the right and by Steven Nield and Reece Whitfield on the other flank.
Halves Dempsey and Jake Hughes utilised the full width of the pitch and full-back Sam Singleton linked up cleverly to provide chances on both flanks for the centres and wings.
They did it on the back of a powerful display by the pack in which Paddy Mooney at prop, second-row pair Danny Haney and Connor Partington and sub forward Rhys Wareing were destructive runners.
Oldham led 18-12 at half-time, but Halifax could play a bit too and they used the wind, driving rain and slope in the second half to come from behind and snatch the win in the last few minutes.
In terms of quality of rugby on show, Roughyeds were at least the equal of the Championship club, if not marginally better, but they let themselves down by a lack of concentration at times and a frustrating habit of conceding silly penalties.
They were twice pulled up in possession for not playing the ball correctly and, having scored some superb tries in the first half, they twice made a mess of Halifax’s restart kicks by surrendering possession and handing the initiative back to the visitors.
They conceded five penalties to Halifax’s nil in the second half, but in total they infringed ten times to the visitors’ three —- carelessness that undoubtedly cost them a game they could easily have won.
Oldham scorers: goals, Dempsey (2); tries, Bickerstaff, Nield, Whitfield, Cookson, Hughes.
Team: Singleton; Bickerstaff, Cookson, Nield, Whitfield; Dempsey, Hughes; Mooney, Ball, Roden, Haney, Partington, Fitzsimmons. Subs: Sargeant, Flanagan, Wareing, Boardman.