Oldham 24 Swinton 68

Date published: Monday, March 28, 2011

IT was a bad day at the office — or at Whitebank to be more precise — when we were mauled by a very strong Swinton Lions side, who scored 12 tries in a 68-24 victory.

We began well enough, going into a 12-0 lead inside ten minutes and looking capable of extending that lead to 18-0, but Swinton hit back after taking an early pounding to lead 22-12 at half-time and then to pile on the points unmercifully in the second half.

While injuries are part and parcel of a tough, contact sport like ours they can often make a huge difference to what happens in a game and the fact is that Roughyeds were forced to go into this game without several regular first-teamers, among them Ben Heaton, Luke Sutton, John Gillam, Neil Roden, Marcus St Hilaire, Tom Wood-Hulme and Matthew Fogarty.

At training last Thursday night Tony B had only 14 fit players, the end product being that there were first-team debuts for Alistair Williams in the centre and Shaun Robinson on the left wing and a switch of positions from hooker to stand-off for Danny Whitmore.

We were off to a good start with Martin Roden leading from the front and Ben Wood causing the Lions defence all sorts of problems down the left channel.

Wood scored the openign try off Roden’s well-timed pass in the second minute and it wasn’t long before we registered our second try when Whitmore’s grubber into the in-goal area rebounded into the path of Mick Diveney, who got a hand to the ball first to register the score.

Diveney converted both tries to establish our 12-0 lead and it was significant that fully 20 minutes had elapsed before we made our first handling error.

Swinton, in contrast, were forced into conceding a lot of early penalties and making a lot of early mistakes, but all that was to change about the middle of the first half when the Lions regained their composure and turned the game on its head following the introduction off the bench of Karl Ashall and Dana Wilson.

Our defence was unable to stand strong as Lions built and sustained pressure and ultimately scored tries by Gallagher, Wilson, Dodd and Ashall to lead 22-12 at the interval.

Going down the slope in the second half they were to add eight more tries in a one-sided second period although we did restore some pride with a couple of late tries by Jason Boults, the first fashioned by John Clough, the second by Martin Roden.

One positive that could be gleaned from this heavy defeat was the form of new boy Shaun Robinson. He had a blinder on the left wing, taking every ball put up to him by Ian Watson and running it back strongly.

Scorers: Oldham — goals, Diveney (4); tries, Wood, Diveney, Boults (2); Swinton — goals, Mort (10); tries, Gallagher, Wilson, Dodd (2), Ashall (2), Mort (2), Wingfield, Flooks, Ainscough, Cunniffe.

Oldham: Brocklehurst; Onyango, Williams, Bradbury, Robinson; Whitmore, Diveney; Boults, M Roden, Clarke, Isherwood, Wood, Noone. Subs: Gilchrist, Bentley, Clough, Ellison.

Swinton: Mort; Foxen, Dodd, Reay, Flooks; Ainscough, Watson; Wingfield, Smith, Morrison, Cunniffe, Gallagher, Joseph. Subs: Ashall, D Hawkyard, Wilson, Tyrer.

Referee: M Thomason; Att: 744.