Under-20s in eight-try triumph

Date published: Friday, June 7, 2013
ROCHDALE Hornets and the RFL will try to unravel the mystery of missing match officials, while Oldham under-20s celebrate a 46-20 win at Mayfield last night.
It gave them a 2-1 triumph over the old enemy in the three-match rubber and delighted coach Phil Costin, who saw his young Roughyeds run in eight tries — five of them in the second half.

He said: “Hornets coped better than us with pre-match disruptions and delays, but once we got going in the second half there was a total transformation. We completed our sets, scored some fine tries and finished worthy winners.”

Although the fixture was listed on the RFL website and included in weekly information sheets distributed to the media, neither referee nor touchjudges turned up.

An inquiry will inevitably follow.

Oldham chairman Chris Hamilton took charge of the situation, first with a call to Oldham-based Ian Smith, a leading figure in the RFL’s referees department, who was driving to Stansted Airport en route to Perpignan for duties at Saturday’s Super League game between Catalan Dragons and Hull FC.

Smith phoned young Oldham official Richard Cowling, who left his evening meal and dashed to Mayfield to take charge of a night-shift game which started 30 minutes behind schedule at 8.30pm and didn’t finish until nearly 10.15pm.

It was an eventful night for Cowling, who sent off Hornets full-back Benji Lloyd after half an hour for “foul and abusive language.”

Oldham led 12-6 at that stage, but 12-man Hornets battled strongly to trail only 16-18 at half-time before Roughyeds stepped up a gear and established firm control.

Hooker Andrew Ball grabbed an impressive hat-trick from dummy half; scrum-half Sam Singleton scored twice; and Aaron Hall, Sam Hughes and Brad Hargreaves also crossed the Hornets line.

Stand-off Paddy Fitzsimmons landed seven goals from seven attempts before experiencing his first failure with his last kick of the game.

Full-back Mike Halsall, Singleton, Ball and second-row pair Hughes and Hargreaves were stand-out players for Oldham, who unveiled another new boy in 19-year-old debutant loose-forward Andy Joy, younger brother of Phil, the first-team prop.

Team: Halsall; Whitfield, Ravenscroft, Wilson, R Ward; Fitzsimmons, Singleton; Hall, Ball, Rasool, S Hughes, Hargreaves, A Joy. Subs: Wareing, Sherratt, Sargeant, Foreman.