Reserves in stunning show

Date published: Friday, July 20, 2012

ICE-COOL Steve Nield’s angled penalty goal with the last kick of the match earned Roughyeds Reserves a thrilling 30-30 draw against a crack Featherstone Rovers second team at Whitebank last night.

Rovers crossed the Pennines boasting 12 wins from 12, having piled up more than 50 points a game on average.

This time they met their match, each side scoring five tries and five goals in a fiercely-fought encounter which had everything from rugged defence to exciting attacking rugby despite the heavy conditions.

The scoring sequence tells the story of the game: 4-0, 10-0, 10-6, 10-12 (second half), 10-18, 16-18, 16-24, 22-24, 22-30, 28-30, 30-30.

Having lost their lead on the stroke of half-time, Oldham didn’t get their noses in front again. But how they battled !

Three times in the second half Rovers had the home side on the canvas, but three times Roughyeds got up off the floor to respond with great tries — two by points-machine Nield and a third by Tom Wood-Hulme which Nield converted with only two minutes left.

Rovers still led 30-28, but with the referee poised to blow his whistle for the last time, Roughyeds hoisted a high, speculative kick; Rovers were offside in the scramble that ensued; and Nield stepped up to steer the ball home to earn a memorable draw.

The full-back’s 18 points (five goals, two tries) took his personal tally in the last three games to 72.

But this performance wasn’t about individuals — it was based on teamwork, unbounded enthusiasm, self-belief and a stubborn refusal to bow to a side that had been hammering all-comers.

Debut-making centre Carl Sneyd and second-row man Ben Hinsley scored the tries that gave Roughyeds an early 10-0 lead, Sneyd’s centre partnership with acting-boss Mark Brocklehurst¬†¬†¬† playing a key role.

The forwards matched Featherstone’s heavyweights in a mighty battle up front, with outstanding contributions from Jamie Acton, Kenny Hughes, Danny Langtree and Phil Joy.

Remarkably, Oldham did it with only 16 men, Mark Thomas suffering a breakdown on the motorway en route to the game.

“On top of that we lost Ben Hinsley in the first half and Danny Moran early in the second, both injured, so for most of the second half we were down to 14,” said a delighted Brocklehurst.

The point hoists Roughyeds into second place thanks to a better for-and-against difference over Halifax, who were beaten at home by Sheffield on Wednesday.

Team: Nield; Foreman, Brocklehurst, Sneyd, Worrall; Connick, Hilliard; Joy, Moran, Langtree, Cunningham, Hinsley, Dean. Subs: Hughes, Acton, Wood-Hulme.