Roughyeds under 20’s

Date published: Monday, July 15, 2013
OLDHAM RL new boy Tom Whitehead could hardly have had a tougher start to his Whitebank career.

Only 24 hours after signing for Roughyeds on a contract to November 30, he was thrust into the under-20s side at full-back against a crack Salford City Reds outfit that has won 13 of its 14 games.

Unlike second-placed Featherstone, smashed 70-0 by the City Reds, Phil Costin’s boys at least gave them a game before going down 52-18.

Their task, on a hot, sultry Friday night at Whitebank, was made all the more difficult because it was their first game in five weeks.

Trailing 36-6 ten minutes into the second half, Roughyeds then enjoyed their best spell to peg Salford back to 36-18 before the classy Super League visitors pulled away again with three tries in the last ten minutes.

Said coach Costin: “We were ring rusty, and it showed. We only completed two sets in the first half and a team like Salford will make you pay.

“We made a fist of it in the second half and it certainly blew the cobwebs away in time for our rearranged home game against Hemel Stags next Saturday.

“Individually, Tom Whitehead was nice and solid at the back on debut; hooker Andy Ball did well; Niall Bradley will benefit from a full game; and the Joy brothers came through well in their first appearances at Whitebank.

“We will certainly benefit from this when we play Hemel next Saturday.”

Salford scored ten tries, five in each half, while Oldham scored three by scrum-half Sam Singleton, dual-reg winger Dan Brotherton and hooker Ball, all of them converted by Paddy Fitsimmons.

Singleton opened up the Reds’ defence beautifully to score a super solo under the posts, the conversion giving Oldham a 6-4 lead after ten minutes.

They looked certain to go further in front when Ball surged for the line from dummy half only for the hooker to lose his grip on the ball as he touched down.

A succession of errors, plus two restart kicks by Singleton which went out on the full, gave Salford enough ball and field position to romp in for six unanswered tries before Roughyeds hit back when Brotherton rose high to collect and then touch down a Singleton crosskick.

The lively Ball added a third Roughyeds try before Salford had a couple of narrow escapes, first when Aaron Hall was held up over the line and again minutes later when the same player knocked-on in the act of diving over the line.

Despite being the last line of defence against tidal waves of Salford attack, Whitehead gave glimpses of what’s to come with one or two classy touches when in possession.

Team: Whitehead; Brotherton, Wilson, Ravenscroft, Ward; Fitzsimmons, Singleton; Hall, Ball, Rasool, Hargreaves, Hughes, Bradley. Subs: A Joy, R Joy, Wareing, Sargeant.

The game against Hemel at Whitebank on Saturday (2pm kick off) is the fixture which should have been played on June 22 when the visitors couldn’t raise a team.