Univ. of Gloucestershire All Golds 0, Oldham 36

Date published: Thursday, April 18, 2013

SCOTT Naylor’s boys produced a thoroughly professional performance, on both attack and defence, to get their Kingstone Press Championship One campaign back on track with a 36-0 win against the University of Gloucestershire All Golds at Cheltenham.

Strong and enthusiastic defence enabled Roughyeds to ‘nil’ the opposition — no mean feat at any level of rugby league — and well-constructed attack produced seven tries, a brace by Richard Lepori and others from Adam Files, Kenny Hughes, Lewis Palfrey, Mo Agoro and Neil Roden.
We led 18-0 at half-time in our history-making first visit to the Prince of Wales Stadium, watched by a small crowd, but one which included lots of Roughyeds fans.
The All Golds boys, coached by Brad Hepi, were an amalgam of players with rugby union or amateur rugby league backgrounds, plus Hepi’s son Tyla, a strong forward who is on dual reg from Hull KR and Aussie recruit Brendan Smith, who made his home debut after arriving from Sydney in time to play his first game at Skirlaugh in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup the week before.
A back-row forward, he is a graduate of the famous St George Illawarra Dragons under-20s Toyota Cup side.
Phil Cowburn from Rochdale, a keen Roughyeds fan since boyhood, played at full-back, while two students from Bury, Matthew Bradley at scrum-half and Callum Mulkeen at centre were also prominent members of the side, both having turned out for our reserve team last year.
The All Golds lacked nothing in effort, determination and physicality and it was easy to see how they won at Gateshead in the Northern Rail Cup and at Skirlaugh, never an easy task, in the Tetley’s Challenge Cup.
However, Roughyeds produced an all-round team performance which was similar in many respects to the one that stifled Rochdale Hornets when we beat them 26-10 in the Northern Rail competition at Whitebank.
Lepori, linking up with the backs from the scrum, scored the first try as early as the third minute and before half-time there were two more, each from dummy half by Files and Hughes.
Lepori did an encore early in the second half and then Palfrey sliced through the defensive line to add a fifth try wide out on the right.
By this time the All Golds were struggling and we added further tries by Agoro just inside the corner flag on the right and by Roden, another straight from the scrum, on the left.
Palfrey and Roden called the shots in the middle of the field with the captain a strong contender for man of the match. He kicked an early 40-20 to set the pattern for his impressive kicking game, linked well with the men on his outside on the right side of the attack, scored a slick solo try and generally appeared to be at the very heart of the sort of rugby the coaching team is trying to get the boys to produce consistently week in and week out.
Up in the forwards every man played his part with Danny Langtree and Josh Crowley again prominent out wide and with Michael Ward and Phil Joy coming off the bench to produce eye-catching displays up the middle.
It was pleasing also to see Liam Thompson in action at senior level for the first time since he had his shoulder operation a couple of months ago.
He emerged from the bench late in the first half and produced a display that augurs well for the remainder of the season.
Oldham scorers: goals, Palfrey (4); tries, Lepori (2), Files, Hughes, Palfrey, Agoro, Roden.
Oldham: Lepori; Agoro, Nield, Cookson, Bloomfield; Palfrey, Roden; Boults, Files, Marriott, Crowley, Langtree, Hobson. Subs: Hughes, Thompson, Joy, Ward.
All Golds: Cowburn; Gahan, Mulkeen, Bergin, Evans; Moore, Bradley; Stewart, Rice, Venn, T Hepi, Jones, Smith. Subs: Greene, Brown, McClean, Crowther.
Ref: J Cobb; Att: 105.