Success on the road

Date published: Monday, August 19, 2013
THE best away record in Championship One guaranteed Oldham a top-two finish.
Four points behind, but with two games still to play, North Wales Crusaders remain on course to finish top and win automatic promotion.
But no other club can finish within six points of the Roughyeds, whose 30-25 win at Rochdale Hornets in the last of their 16 league games gave Scott Naylor’s young guns a remarkable 22 points out of a possible 24 on the road.
It was a long and winding road, too, with trips to Gateshead, Wrexham, Neath, Oxford, Cheltenham, Hemel Hempsted and London.
Club budgets didn’t stretch to overnight stops, but the players quickly got used to early starts, leg-stretching sessions on motorway service stations and conditioner Mike Hughes’s healthy-eating packs taken en route.
On their travels they beat Gloucester 36-0, Hemel Stags 30-12, South Wales Scorpions 36-32, Gateshead Thunder 44-12, Oxford 22-4, London Skolars 44-24 and Rochdale 30-25.
Their only away defeat was 22-20 against North Wales Crusaders in Wrexham on June 9, where they were denied two points for a draw because Lewis Palfrey’s touchline conversion attempt with the last kick of the game passed narrowly wide of the far post.
Crusaders, whose crucial game at London Skolars is on Friday night, have already lost two games away — at Hemel and at Whitebank — and no club in the division can match the Roughyeds’ consistency on opponents’ grounds.
Of the seven points they have dropped all season, five were at Whitebank — two each in early-season losses to Rochdale and Oxford and the fifth in the recent draw with bottom club Gloucester All Golds.
Roughyeds are looking to London to beat Crusaders by more than 12 points on Friday — a result which would give Scott Naylor’s boys the championship crown and, with it, promotion to the Championship.
London themselves need the points in their quest to pip Rochdale to third place and thus get a better chance in the play-offs.
Latest results: North Wales 54, Oxford 10; Gloucester 34, Gateshead 36; Hemel Stags 18, London Skolars 40.
Still to come: Friday, London v Crusaders; September 1, Rochdale v Gloucester, Oxford v London, Crusaders v South Wales, Gateshead v Hemel.