Oldham scrape past an improving All Golds
Article written by James Gray, All Golds Media Intern
Photos provided by Lewis Mitchell, All Golds Photography Intern
Steve McCormack took charge of his first home game this Sunday, when the University of Gloucestershire All Golds welcomed Oldham RLFC to the Prince of Wales stadium in Cheltenham.
Both sides came into the fixture off the back of fantastic victories. Last weekend Oldham celebrated a close one point win over the York City Knights at the Whitebank Stadium. And of course the All Golds showed the McCormack factor when winning away against the London Skolars, as fans took in a ‘player of the week’ performance from Casey Canterbury, who helped guide his new club to a 24-34 triumph.
McCormack made four changes to the starting 13 that conquered Skolars, including the introduction of Ben White, who joined the All Golds earlier in the week from the Leeds Rhinos academy. He also handed a debut to 18 year-old Francis Foster; a late change for prop James Walter who couldn’t make it through the warm-up.
The first half showed how closely matched the two sides were, with neither side being able to dominate. The opening quarter of the first period was extremely close with if anything the All Golds looking more dangerous, and on a number of occasions coming close to scoring.
However, three quick fire penalties gave Oldham the ball in important areas and Josh Crowley opened the score. Taking the ball at speed Crowley got the ball down smartly, but the damage had been done through the home side giving away the key penalties.
Despite Oldham taking the lead, the All Golds still pressed on straight from the restart, claiming back the ball and forcing a goal-line dropout. Now with the ball in a dangerous area and forcing the visitors defence back, it opened space up on the left hand side for Sam Te’o to break the line and offload to Miles Fairbank who quickly cancelled Oldhams lead. Aidan Jenkins adding the extras.
After retaliating quickly to the away sides try, it was important that the All Golds sustained that attacking pressure, however it was Oldham who again quickly regained their advantage. A long pass to the left wing put Dale Bloomfield in to score in the corner, as the winger added to his three he scored against York last week. Again the away side missed the conversion.
In what had been such a tight encounter, the All Golds would have been really disappointed to concede a runaway try. The home side put on some solid defensive pressure, however Jon Ford broke the line and managed to run 60 meters and extend the away sides advantage.
Although coming into the interval eight points behind, the All Golds had been more than competitive and with the wind behind them were looking to force their way back into the match.
The home side couldn’t manage to come firing out the blocks, but they looked to be putting together a smart move until Danny Fallon’s loose pass was read by Ford, who intercepted and comfortably ran clear to score his second.
After Ford’s interception, the next try was so crucial with a further score for Oldham surely giving them victory. The All Golds pressured and were left fuming when Josh Crowley clearly elbowed Casey Canterbury on the floor, but still received no card. But this anger was transfered into the next set as they always looked like scoring; the ball was asking to be sent wide and finally Scott Claridge had it in his hands to score in the corner.
With the score now 12 points to 20, the result was again up in the air, however title challengers Oldham asserted themselves soon after Claridge’s try. The visitors had three sets to get over the line, and although the All Golds defended valiantly Michael Ward’s run proved one too many, scoring under the posts and confirming the away side’s lead.
Ward’s score lead to a flurry of tries at both ends, as the next 10 minutes would give the 264 spectators three more scores to see. Firstly, last week’s match winner Canterbury danced his way around defenders before scoring for the home side, as they now searched for a bonus point. However never to let the All Golds settle, the away team soon scored again as Mo Agoro, got down to what must have been one of the finishes of the season. The winger received the ball nearly out of touch, before leaping for the line and getting the ball down whilst up in the air and put his team 12 points ahead, with the All Golds hanging on for a bonus point.
Never to give up the home side were back on the attack, as hooker Craig Cook scored the game’s final try, giving his side a bonus point and confirming Oldham as 22-30 victors. But the All Golds can take a great deal from this defeat, giving everything and putting it up to a title challenger, as Steve McCormack’s men are clearly on an upward path.
A disappointed Head Coach Steve McCormack said after the game:
“If you consider our performance, I think we’ve come a long way in a short space of time, and I’m disappointed we’ve not won actually.
“We switched off for a ten minute spell in the first half and that cost us, but overall very encouraging.
“I could not have asked for a better response from everybody at this club, they’re a team that’s learning and we’ve got some good experienced players in there, like Craig Cook and Danny Thomas who I thought was excellent at full back. But it’s a young team as far as age, and it’s a very young team in regards to rugby league.”
Sam Te’o shared his thoughts on the tight affair: “Pretty disappointed, but that feeling of being disappointed just goes to show how much we’re changing now as a team. At the start of the year in a loss like that, we would have been happy to get a bonus point, but if you look at a lot of the lads their starting to turn that cultural around, and the attitude towards losses is starting to change.
“So it’s a positive coming out of it, but still there’s a long way to go.”
Man of the Match:
Home Side: Sam Te’o
Away Team: Jon Ford
|University of Gloucestershire All Golds||Oldham RLFC|
|7. Danny Thomas4. Aidan Jenkins17. Sam Te’o2. Jarrod Ward5. Scott Claridge
6. Ben White
9. Casey Canterbury
20. Francis Foster
19. Craig Cook
10. Izaak Duffy
11. Miles Fairbank
12. Jason Muranka
13. Brendan Smith
15. Harry Chapman-Walker
14. Joe McClean
16. Dan Spencer-Tonks
3. Danny Fallon
|4. Steven Nield2. Mo Agoro21. David Cookson26. Jon Ford5. Dale Bloomfield
1. Steven Roper
7. Brett Robinson
10. Jason Boults
17. Danny Whitmore
8. Phil Joy
11. Josh Crowley
12. Danny Langtree
9. Sam Gee
20. George Tyson
19. Michael Ward
16. Kenny Hughes
28. Nathan Mason
Referee: Michael Woodhead
Touch Judges: N. Walker and J. Woodman