Rochdale 18 – 10 Oldham RLFC

Date published: Monday, April 9, 2012

ROUGHYEDS lost their unbeaten Championship One record in a fiery derby at Spotland. They led 10-8 at half-time despite losing influential skipper Neil Roden with a severe deal leg after five minutes.

Hornets dominated a rough-house second half, however, to finish worthy winners, 18-10.

They already led 16-10 when our young forward Alex Thompson was sin-binned  after a brawl in which players of both sides traded punches. Roughyeds were awarded a penalty for a high tackle on Thommo which sparked the free-for-all but the player, and the Oldham bench, were mystified when he was shown the yellow card and everyone else stayed on the field.

[singlepic id=1190 w=320 h=240 float=left]The game threatened to explode again after the final hooter. Hornets forward Adam Bowman appeared to be carrying the ball to the touchline to end the game when he was pushed by John Clough and ended up in an advertising hoarding.

Referee Gary Hewer put the incident on report as the game ended acrimoniously with rival players pushing and jostling each other as they moved towards the tunnel.

If nothing else, Roughyeds got a bonus point and are now one of three clubs on ten points at the top of the table. Taking for-and-against into account Tony Benson’s men are now in third place behind Workington, the new leaders, and Barrow.

Hornets got off to a good start with an early try by winger Wayne English, but Oldham were soon back on terms when Lucas Onyango, in his 100th appearance for the club, went in at the corner on Jamie Dallimore’s wide ball.

In a nip-and-tuck first half Hornets centre Danny Davies crossed out wide on the right, but Rougheds edged in front just before half time when Paul Noone and Dally sent the impressive Thompson in behind the posts for a try which Dally converted.

It was anybody’s game at this stage, but we lost our way in the second half and failed to add another point while Hornets scored ten unanswered points and would have scored more if Chris Baines had been in goalkicking form.

The former Oldham centre put his side back in front with a 43rd minute try in the corner and with Hornets 12-10 in front we twice spurned the opportunity of going for penalty goals in favour of keeping the pressure on and going for a try, failing in each instance.

We were made to pay midway through the half when Gary Middlehurst broke up the middle to lay on a try from the next play-the-ball for Steve McDermott. Bainsy gave us a lifeline by missing the relatively easy kick, but we suffered another blow from the restart and this was to have a major bearing on the outcome.

Dally’s restart kick bounced back to Thommo, who drove the ball in. He was hit high in a three-man tackle and there followed a free-for-all. The penalty went to Roughyeds for the original high shot but, after a long consultation with his touchjudges, the referee produced the yellow card for Thommo, but not for anybody else.

Hornets had a huge advantage after that and they made the game secure with a penalty goal from in front by Chris Hough.

It was a bad day at the office for Roughyeds. Dallimore, Onyango, Thompson and Noone tried desperately hard to salvage something, but we didn’t play well and at least came out of it with a bonus point.

Disappointed coach Tony B said: “We didn’t threaten them enough. Our end-of-set play were poor, as was our kicking game — and when we did put in a decent kick our chase wasn’t good. In short, there were long periods of the game when we looked lost.

“We were poor on attack and missed chances. We didn’t deliver with ball in hand and we paid the price. With 15 minutes to go I still thought we would win, but we didn’t have enough composure.

“The injury to Neil Roden and the yellow card for Alex Thompson didn’t help, but wee didn’t lose because of those things — we lost because we didn’t play to the plan we had practised all week.

“There were a few niggly incidents and a lot of frustrations but at the end of the day it was a game of rugby league and we lost because we didn’t play well —- simple as that.

“The yellow card for Thommo was a bit harsh. He didn’t know why. He took the high shot and ended up as the only one in the bin. Apparently, the officials didn’t put anyone in from the other side because they couldn’t be sure which one of two was involved.

“It didn’t cost us the game, but it had a bearing on what happened at the end.”

Scorers: Hornets: tries, English, Davies, Baines, McDermott; goal, Hough; Oldham: tries, Onyango, Thompson; goal, Dallimore.

Hornets: O’Connor; Bloomfield, Davies, Baines, English; Leather, Hough; Braddish, McDermott, Newton, Middlehurst, Hobson, Donoghue. Subs: Wood, Bowman, Bannister, Cookson.

Oldham: Greenwood; Onyango, Cookson, McCully, Ballard; N Roden, Dallimore; Boults, Clough, Clarke,Noone, Smith, M Roden,. Subs: Thompson, Whitmore, Ellison, Johnson.


Referee: Mr G Hewer; Att: 1,020.