Scott talks of ‘top quality first 40’

Date published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013
OLDHAM have started slowly and conceded early points in several games this season, but they were determined that wouldn’t happen against Gateshead Thunder for the second time in five weeks.

They were 12-0 up in as many minutes on their way to a league double over the Tynesiders and they went on to lead 32-6 at half-time with five first-half tries and a performance described by coach Scott Naylor as a “top quality first 40”.

In three wins against Thunder this season — two in the league and one in the Northern Rail Cup — Naylor’s boys have totalled 132 points and conceded 44.

The Roughyeds boss would view this latest triumph, 44-12, as the best of the three for several reasons, not least that it was the only one played in the North-East or, to be more precise, at the neat and tidy little ground of South Shields FC.

It didn’t help when, shortly after leaving Whitebank, the Roughyeds team bus developed engine trouble and limped to Hartshead Moor Services where there was a 45-minute delay before a replacement vehicle arrived.

The players arrived at the ground at 2.25pm for a 3pm start, and although the kick-off was delayed for 15 minutes their preparations were inevitably rushed.

Said Naylor: “When you take all these things into account, and factor in also that Liam Gilchrist was off after ten minutes with a calf problem and that young Nathan Mason made his debut on loan after only two training sessions with us, we gave a very professional performance.

“Before the game I would certainly have taken 44-12 or even 32-6 at half-time. That was a top quality first 40 and it was always going to be very hard for Gateshead to get back into the game after that.

“The second half didn’t live up to the first. Much of it was scrappy and niggly and when that started to happen it was inevitable that we would see less good rugby.

“My lads kept their heads as well as they could and kept on trying to play rugby, but it was never going to match the quality of the first half performance.

“Taking the game as a whole, it’s nice to see that what we do in training is working out for us on the field in a match situation and it’s also nice to see the players striving to reach the levels we set and clearly enjoying themselves in the bargain.

“They are playing with smiles on their faces and ‘Spanner’ (his assistant Lee Spencer) and I love to see that because enjoyment is surely what sport is all about.

“All 17 played well, not a bad performance among them, but I thought Lewis Palfrey led the side like a captain should. He controlled the game, too, especially in the first half when we did all the damage and got the job done.

“Richard Lepori had a big game at full-back and I thought Liam Thompson, coming off the bench, was excellent in everything he did.

“As for the new boy, Nathan Mason, he had a great game. It can’t be easy for anybody to come straight into a team like that, after a couple of training sessions, and to be expected to do the business.

“He did all we asked of him, and more. He looked very comfortable from his first drive and hopefully he will be able to play like that for the remainder of his loan spell.”