Oldham RLFC 28 – 30 Dewsbury Rams

Date published: Monday, February 27, 2012

ANOTHER massive fightback by Tony Benson’s boys provided the highlight of our 30-28 defeat by Championship side Dewsbury Rams in the Northern Rail Cup.

Roughyeds trailed 30-4 at one stage early in the second half, but as we proved at South Wales in the previous game this squad has backbone and mental toughness and both those qualities were on show in abundance as we stunned the Rams by scoring 24 unanswered points in the last 20 minutes.

With four minutes left we had pulled it back to 30-28. Rams were visibly rattled, but we ran out of time after salvaging a lot of pride and respect following a disappointing offering in the first half.

Tony B had mixed feelings after the game. He was obviously delighted by the fightback, but more concerned by what happened in the first half than in the second.

“Even in the first half we did a lot of reasonably good stuff,” he said, “but we were disadvantaged territorially and that was mainly because we gave away a lot of penalties to a big side which made the most of their possession down the slope.

“It was difficult to hold them when defending on our goal line, but we spoke at half time about the need to play a lot more at their end of the pitch and that’s exactly what happened in the second half.

“It helped to be playing down the slope, but there was a lot more to it than that. We started to play as we know we can and that forced Dewsbury into conceding penalties which again helped us to maintain momentum.

“We know we still have a lot of work to do but I am confident we will have things sorted by the time we go to Workington in a fortnight for our first league game.”

The game was a personal triumph for left winger John Gillam, who scored a hat-trick of tries and often caused mayhem in the Rams rearguard when he chased down telling kicks by Neil Roden or Jamie Dallimore.

Roden and John Clough also crossed the Rams line, while Dally converted four out of the five tries and kicked beautifully off the left-hand touchline in the second half to really put the wind up the visitors.

Prop Bruce Johnson came off the bench to provide the Oldham pack with plenty of go-forward. He was the outstanding forward on the field on a day when Roughyeds had eye-catching individuals in Roden, Dallimore, Michael Ward, Alex Thompson and Clough.

Scorers: Oldham — goals, Dallimore 4; tries, Gillam 3, Roden, Clough; Dewsbury — goals, Spavin 3; tries, Faal, Jones, Barber, Barker, Olpherts, Nicholson.

Oldham: Greenwood; Robinson, Cookson, Fogarty, Gillam; Roden, Dallimore; Boults, Clough, Gilchrist, Clarke, Ward, Thompson. Subs: Noone, Whitmore, Ellison, Johnson.

Dewsbuiry: Olpherts; Wainwright, Smith, Faal, Buchanan; Barber, Spavin; Jones, Cook, Crossley, Barker, Esders, Tonks. Subs: Blake, Nicholson, Davies, Samuels.

Ref: Jamie Bloem; Att: 573.