Reserves go down fighting

Date published: Friday, March 26, 2010

ROUGHYEDS reserves slipped and slithered — literally — to a 28-18 defeat in a pre-season friendly at Dewsbury last night.

Driving rain throughout the game produced a heavy pitch which made handling and running hazardous.

Despite dreadful conditions, however, both teams contrived to produce a hard-fought and often exciting encounter in which the lead changed hands four times before the Rams pulled away with two tries in the last ten minutes.

Roughyeds came back from 10-0 down to turn round at 10-10 and then twice edged ahead in the second half, 14-10 and later 18-16 before the home side wrapped things up with two decisive tries through a tiring defence.

The fifth and last came on the very last play of the game to produce a score that didn’t reflect how much Oldham had contributed to the game and how close they came to pulling off a victory.

With his side leading 18-16 debutant Dean Hatton broke away up the middle only to run out of support on the heavy pitch.

A  converted try at that stage would, in all probability, have taken Roughyeds out of sight, but it wasn’t to be although there were many positives to come out of the team’s battling display.

It was good to see new player-mentor Francis Maloney sitting in the stand for the first time and it was encouraging also to witness the enthusiasm of the entire squad as exemplified by the use of non-playing Paul Ashton and Scott Mansfield as touchline assistants.

On the field Oldham were very much “hooked” on giving the Rams plenty to think about with new-boy Hatton showing up exceedingly well from the No 9 spot in his two spells.

And when he went off for a breather he was replaced by Austen Barrowclough, who promptly posted his intentions for the season by scoring a hat-trick in 15 minutes.

Thre times he broke from acting half-back and sold a dummy — and three times he ended up over the line in a very promising individual performance.

Plenty of others caught the eye, too, not least a powerful young forward from Wigan St Cuthbert’s, Matty Lowe. Strong on the burst and aggressive in the tackle, he led a first-half defensive rearguard that was at times awesome in its ferocity.

Jamie I’Anson, Mark Smith and Luke Sutton followed his example, but fatigue set in late in the second half when the side as a whole began to miss vital tackles in the middle of the field — a failing which ultimately cost the side victory.

Oldham’s starting line-up was as follows: Coates; Hamilton, Brocklehurst, Knight, Midgely; Fullalove, Diveney; Sutton, Hatton, Mellor, Sadiq, Ward, Hodson. Subs: Barrowclough, I’Anson, Lowe, Joy.