Play-Off win for Reserves

Date published: Sunday, August 12, 2012

WINGER John Gillam crowned a workmanlike all-round display with two second-half tries as our under-23s won 18-12 at Halifax in a hard-fought play-off game to qualify for next Saturday’s Grand Final at Featherstone (5.30pm kick off).

Steve Nield, playing inside Gillam at left-centre, opened the scoring with a lovely try just before half time and then added a goal off the touchline to give Roughyeds a 6-0 lead at the turn-around.

It was only a week ago that Halifax beat us easily in the last league game of the season, but we turned it round magnificently thanks to a great effort from all the boys and coach Paul Ashton’s attention to detail.

Said a delighted Ashy: “We spent four or five hours looking at where we went wrong last time and considering how we could put things right. We didn’t have to make major changes, just tweak one or two things.

“The forwards tonight were absolutely brilliant. They set the platform and made it easy for the backs. We played some good stuff, and although there were times when we didn’t execute well, there were massive positives when comparing this with how we played a week ago.

“We have now reached the reserve division Grand Final two years on the run, and no one deserves it more. These boys have been working desperately hard since we started pre-season training many months ago.

“A word also for Mark Brocklehust. His experience is invaluable and he has been helping me a lot off the field in match preparation, partcularly in working with individuals on a man-to-man basis.”

The teams took turns to score in a tough, yet exciting, second half. Fax levelled at 6-6, but a long-range penalty goal by Nield again gave Roughyeds the edge at 8-6 before Gillam struck for the first time.

A high kick by Tommy Connick caused consternation at the Halifax end of the field before Gillam crossed in the corner for a try which Nield goaled absolutely superbly off the left=side touchline.

At 14-6, we looked to be coasting home, but the home side again put us on tenterhooks with a try by Ross White, converted by Stead, to put them only 14-12 down.

We desperately needed another try to put daylight between them and us and when it came what an absolute cracker it was !

Ryan Hilliard, Benji Lloyd and Nield all shipped the ball swiftly left with great hands and Gillam finished off in the corner.

Brocklehurst and Nield, in their contrasting styles, had impressive games in the centre positions; Connick and Hilliard worked extremely hard at half-back; and the pack was in excellent form as Phil Joy, Sam Dalby, Danny Langtree, Liam Gilchrist and Co made it a night to remember for our travelling fans.

Joy had to leave the field in a concussed condition after half an hour and it won’t be known until nearer next weekend whether he will be available for the final.

Kenny Hughes and Liam Gilchrist, coming off the bench, had terrific second-half performances, as did Langtree when the three St Helens boys came together in the later stages of the game.

Scorers: goals, Nield (3); tries, Nield, Gillam (2);

Halifax: Stead (2), tries, Holroyde, White.

Oldham: Lloyd; Worrall, Brocklehurst, Nield, Gillam; Connick, Hilliard; Joy, Moran, Dalby, Hinsley, Langtree, Dean.Subs: Highes, Gilchirst, Cunningham, Nooon.