Rochdale Hornets 25 Oldham 30

Date published: Monday, August 19, 2013
ROCHDALE HORNETS 25   OLDHAM 30
PREMIER Sports viewers were treated to a cracking derby as Oldham made it eight wins from nine outings thanks to a three-try blitz early in the second half.
For much of a fiercely-fought contest there was little to separate the sides in a tough arm-wrestle, but league leaders Oldham made the decisive breakthrough with tries by Liam Thompson, Danny Langtree and on-loan new-boy Chris Clarke in a 17-minute purple patch just after half-time.
Naylor admits he expects title favourites North Wales to win each of their remaining games in which case Roughyeds will finish second and be thrust into the play-offs.
Suffice to say that if this Hornets-Oldham derby could be a sample of what to expect in a five-club play-off for the right to win promotion to a revamped Championship, then bring it on.
It was a game that had the lot — nine tries, great attacking rugby, rugged defence, fisticuffs, yellow cards for rival wingers Gareth Langley and Dale Bloomfield and a late Hornets fightback that had Oldham fans checking their watches every few seconds.
Oldham were hanging on at that stage, Hornets having cut their 30-13 lead to 30-25 with smart tries by Langley and impressive centre Danny Davies, both of them goaled beautifully off the right-hand touchline by stand-off Paul Crook.
Try as they might, Hornets couldn’t puncture the solid Oldham defence again and Roughyeds ended their 16-game regular league season on a high note by extending their lead at the top to seven points and keeping up the pressure on Crusaders to overtake them.
Hornets led 13-12 at half-time, the difference being provided by a Crook drop goal from in front almost as the interval hooter sounded.
Lewis Palfrey and Liam Gilchrist scored first-half tries for the visitors, both converted by Palfrey, while Danny Yates and Wayne English crossed for Hornets with Crook adding the extras in each instance.
With substitutes Michael Ward, Liam Thompson and Adam Files each hitting Hornets hard up front, early momentum in the second half belonged to Oldham.
At 30-13 Oldham looked home and dry, but credit Hornets with the steely determination to remain in contention — a quality that kept fans of both persuasions on the edge of their seats until the final hooter.
Scorers: Hornets — drop goal, Crook; goals, Crook (4); tries, Yates, English, Langley, Davies.
Oldham — goals, Palfrey (5); tries, Palfrey, Gilchrist, Thompson, Langtree, Clarke.
Hornets: English; Langley,Davies, Hull, Wareing; Crook, Yates; Cookson, Hough, Forster, Baines, Case, Thompson. Subs: McClurg, Crow, McGoff, Ainscough.
Oldham: Lepori; Agoro, Cookson, Crowley, Bloomfield; Palfrey, Hughes; Haggarty, Gee, Joy, Clarke, Langtree, Hobson. Subs: Files, Gilchrist, Ward, Thompson.
Referee: M Thomason; Attendance: 1,107.