Oldham v Hornets RL

Date published: Monday, August 16, 2010

PROP power carried Oldham to an impressive 44-14 victory against Hornets in Sunday’s Co-operative Championship One derby clash at the Whitebank Stadium and confirmed the Roughyeds’ right, as league runners-up, to enjoy pole position on the starting grid for the forthcoming play-offs.

Workaholic prop Jason Boults went in for a hat-trick of tries for the first time as a professional, while his fellow front-rowers Dave Ellison and Wayne Kerr each crossed the Hornets line as well.

“I’ve never scored a hat-trick before as a professional,” said a beaming Boults after the game. “But it was a good team performance and I capitalised on that. I owed a lot to my team mates. I was just lucky enough to get on the end of some good handling moves. I’ve doubled my try tally for the sesason in one game.”

Boults ran superb lines to feed off clever distribution from colleagues and cross for tries near the posts in the 10th, 24th and 61st minutes without a finger laid on him.

Ellison, a centre in his youth, still has a step and a good turn of pace — attributes that he put to good use when storming over from distance as Hornets tired in the later stages.

And the biggest cheer of the afternoon was reserved for late in the game when Irishman Kerr took Ellison’s short ball deep inside his own half to outstrip the visitors’ defence on a barnstorming gallop down the middle and down the Whitebank slope before diving under the sticks.

Little wonder then that Boults picked up the club’s official man-of-the-match award and Kerr received a champagne-moment prize of a bottle of bubbly.

They were given a massive round of applause by fans in the clubhouse after the game when they went on the stage to receive their awards from club chairman Chris Hamilton.

Said Kerr: “It was the best try I’ve scored for Oldham. It seemed a long way to run in that heat. All I wanted to do when I had scored was to lie there and get my break back, but the other lads jumped on me and I thought I was suffocating!”

Speaking of the Boults hat-trick, Mr Hamilton said: “It’s an achievement for any player to score a hat-trick, but for an prop to do it is extra special and that’s why Jason has been awarded the man-of-the-match prize.”

Interestingly, Ellison has now scored seven tries this year; Kerr five; and Boults six — not bad for a trio of props who know where the line is, and like to get there.

Hornets made an encouraging start when full-back Wayne English stormed up the middle on a superb short ball. He looked certain to score until his opposite number Paul O’Connor came from nowhere to tackle him on the try line and cause him to lose the ball.

Oldham, though, stormed into an early 14-0 lead with tries by Boults and two by half-back Greg McNally inside the first 16 minutes. The first of the McNally tries was an absolute gem in which debut-making Oldham second-rower Johnny Walker handled twice and linked superbly with winger Lucas Onyango before McNally raced away on the inside to score near the posts.

In that one moment Walker revealed real class and vision, first to get Onyango up the wing and then to take his return ball on the inside before releasing McNally with quick hands.

Another McNally try followed soon afterwards — courtesy of Neil Roden’s clever grubber into the in-goal — but if Oldham thought it was going to be one-way traffic they were given a jolt when Bolu Fagborun went in at the corner for Hornets.

Boults crossed for his second to keep Oldham in command, but Hornets came again with a beauty by Craig Ashall. Standing in as hooker for the injured Phil Wood, he conjured a try that Wood would have been proud of to sweep past Ellison and Clarke and scoot in by the posts.

Oldham, however, stretched their lead to 26-10 at half time with a John Gillam try in the corner, courtesy of Neil Roden’s cross kick, and then a penalty goal by McNally after the hooter had sounded.

Hornets were first on the scoresheet in the second half when Steven Roper and Damian Reid got Fagborun in at the corner for his second try.

After that, though, it was all Oldham with those points-hungry props Boults, Ellison and Kerr all touching down to keep Hornets guessing about where they will finish in the play-off six.

Scorers: Oldham – tries, Boults (3),McNally (2), Gillam, Ellison, Kerr; goals, McNally (6); Hornets — tries, Fagborun (2), Ashall; goal, Crook.

Oldham: O’Connor; Onyango, Heaton, Fogerty, Gillam; N Roden, McNally; Boults, M Roden, Kerr, Walker,Chandler, Bentley. Subs: Ellison, Whitmore, Clarke, Brocklehurst.

Hornets: English; Bloomfield,Gorton, Reid, Fagborun; Crook,Roper; Hayes, Ashall, Fairhurst, Donoghue, Smith, Samuel. Subs: Cookson, Cocker, Bowman,Powell.

Referee: M Kidd (Castleford); Att: 1,005.