Roughyeds throw away ‘L’ plates

Date published: Thursday, August 22, 2013

A YOUNG Oldham RL squad’s ability to learn from mistakes was key to the Roughyeds’ top-two finish, said assistant boss Lee Spencer.

The players, nearly a dozen of whom were playing senior rugby for the first time, started the season wearing ‘L’ plates but went on to pass tests, with distinctions, at the first time of asking.
They won 12 and drew one of their 16 games in Kingstone Press Championship One, losing only to Rochdale and Oxford at home (in two of their first three games) and by two points away at North Wales Crusaders.
They boasted the best away record in the nine-team division and they were the only club to pick up at least one point from every game.
Said Spencer: “It’s significant that two of the three losses were early in the season when we were in a big learning curve and the players were getting used to each other.
“It’s interesting to note too that we copped defeats by Rochdale, Oxford and North Wales, learned from our mistakes, and went on to beat each of them in the return games.
“There wasn’t a team in the division that we didn’t beat at least once and if you take the Northern Rail Cup into account we beat Gateshead Thunder and South Wales Scorpions three times.
“We also beat Rochdale three times out of four if you count the Law Cup and the Northern Rail as well as the two league games.”
Never was the squad’s ability to learn and improve more evident than in three matches against the side currently placed second, North Wales Crusaders.
In their first competitive game together, Roughyeds were thumped 48-12 in a Northern Rail tie at Wrexham.
Three months on, they returned to the same ground in the league and lost 22-20 — and seven weeks after that beat Crusaders 28-10 at Whitebank.
Said Spencer: “Not a lot of people realise just how young we are. A lot of the boys are barely out of academy rugby, yet on our day we can realistically claim to be the best team in the league.
“To bring 20 young players together from all over the North-West and get them to gel as a winning team is a huge job and Scott (head coach Naylor) deserves a lot of credit for that.
“I like to think I had a bit to do with it as well, but the biggest credit goes to Scott and the players themselves. They are doing us proud.
“Evidence that the boys had the knack of learning from mistakes and learning from defeat is overwhelming.
“And why is that? It’s because they are young and enthusiastic — hungry for success — and they will listen to their coaches, unlike many older players in rugby league who think they know it all.
“Scott and I have a style of coaching that we passionately believe in and faith in youth is at the very centre of it.”