“Step in the right direction” says Scott

Date published: Tuesday, April 15, 2014
BETTER, much better . . . that was how Scott Naylor summed up Oldham’s 52-16 win against Gateshead Thunder when comparing it with previous league performances so far this season.
He was made up with the way his players battled against all odds in the mismatch cup-tie at Bradford Bulls, but he was left feeling at best dissatisfied and at worst frustrated by the 20-20 home draw with Hemel, the 42-24 win at Egremont in the cup and the 18-16 triumph at London Skolars.
Atrocious weather which caused the game to be abandoned near the end also took the gloss off the 18-4 win in South Wales on the opening day of the season.
This one was different; this one was another win AND a performance which gave Naylor good reason to look forward with renewed optimism to Friday’s top-of-the-table clash at Hunslet Hawks.
He said: “Good result and, better still, we looked a lot more like our old selves. I could see a lot of ‘last season’ in this performance and that’s what we need to be striving for.
“We were the fastest we’ve been this season around the ruck; we were a lot more direct in general play; and we were significantly more clinical when we got close to the Gateshead line.
“In the main our defence was also much improved.
“It had to be because this was one of those games in which we needed to be on top of the job from start to finish. Thunder undoubtedly have some quality about them and they have been further strengthened by the recruitment of four Hull KR players on dual registration.
“I still think we’ve a lot more to come, but at least this is a big step in the right direction and one that has enabled us to keep our unbeaten record in the league.”
Young forward George Tyson and big centre Ben Wood went down with knocks, but both carried on after after precautionary checks.
Added Naylor: “We’ve no new injury problems so that’s another plus as we look ahead to Friday. 
“It’s not often I talk about individual players in what is essentially a team game, but I do think Kenny Hughes’s performance deserves to be highlighted.
“He was outstanding in all aspects of his game. What he gave us was his best contribution to the Roughyeds’ cause since I’ve been at the club. He was terrific.
“It was great to see Dale Bloomfield garnering a hat-trick of tries. His last try particularly took some scoring so plaudits to Dale for that, although there was only one clear-cut winner of the man-of-the-match award for me and that was Kenny Hughes.”