Under-20s Sizzle

Date published: Monday, April 8, 2013
STRENGTHENED by the addition of several new players, Oldham RL under-20s blitzed derby rivals Rochdale Hornets 46-22 at Whitebank on Friday night, scoring nine tries including a brace from debut-making centre Niall Bradley.
The Roughyeds youngsters played some scintillating attacking rugby on the back of a strong and mobile pack which formed the platform for loose-forward Liam Thompson and scrum-half Sam Singleton to organise things cleverly in the middle of the field.
Thompson (21), a member of the first-team squad playing his first game for the club after a shoulder operation, looked full of promise as an intelligent footballer with the skills to match.
Former Leigh half-back Singleton, another new boy on debut, dovetailed with him impressively as Roughyeds scored four tries in the first half, playing up the slope, and added another five in the second half.
With players of that calibre around him, young Tom Flanagan produced his best game of the season in the key pivotal role of stand-off half, as did Mike Halsall at full-back.
Michael Ward, another young first teamer on the comeback trail, put in a strong, 80-minute shift in the back-row, while Aaron Hall, a tall, rangy, mobile prop, caught the eye with his ability to take the pack forward and make the hard yards.
Said assistant coach Mark Davenport: “We scored some great tries and played lots of good rugby, but it was our strong defence, right from the first tackles of the game, that set the pattern and won it for us.
“We had a session against the first team the night before the game and it stood us in good stead, as it did to have players like Liam Thompson and Michael Ward in the forwards.
“There were loads of top individual performances. I thought Aaron Hall, at prop, had a blinder.”
Flanagan kicked five goals and the tries were scored by Bradley (2), Ric Ward, Reece Whitfield, Liam Sargeant, Brad Hargreaves, Thompson, Sam Hughes and Michael Ward.
Team: Halsall; R Ward, Wilson, Bradley, Whitfield; Flanagan, Singleton; Rasool, Sargeant, Hall, Hargreaves, M Ward, Thompson. Subs: Hughes, Foreman, Hurley, Pickerstaff.
The under-20s next game is at Keighley this Thursday night, April 11 (kick off 7.45pm).