Roughyeds roar into the play-offs
Match report by James Gray.
Photos by Lewis Mitchell
Oldham put on a fantastic performance ahead of their play-off clash with Hunslet, beating the All Golds 68-24.
Before today’s 3 pm kick-off, the University of Gloucestershire All Golds had already learned their fate, as the Hemel Stags drew with Oxford in the Saturday fixture condemning the Gloucester outfit to sixth place, just outside the play-offs.
Despite the disappointing news the All Golds were travelling to Oldham in hope of ending the season on a high, especially with the departure of Head Coach Steve McCormack after this Sunday’s encounter. The Scotland boss has done a fine job since his arrival in May, producing the best run in the club’s history with momentous wins against Hunslet, York and Oxford. But ultimately a poor run in has seen the All Golds fall down the league and finish just shy of a play-off berth.
Oldham are mighty impressive on their own patch, not once suffering defeat at the Whitebank Stadium. And they started impressively with a comfortable try after just one minute, when Jon Ford saw a huge gap open in front of him to open the scoring. Both sides would have been disappointed with the lack of completion, especially considering how impressively they both looked with the ball in hand. But again down the left side Oldham capitalised on the lack of All Golds numbers, this time Josh Crowley getting over the line to double their advantage.
It was clear the home side looked menacing coming forward, but the Gloucestershire outfit were doing some good work with the ball themselves and got their rewards when Miles Fairbank forced himself over to bring the visitors right back into the fixture.
In recent times the All Golds have been disappointing, in regards to quick tries conceded, and unfortunately today would be no different. In just a 10 minute spell the Roughyeds, not only confirmed their lead but took a decisive step towards victory, scoring four times and quickly halting the away side’s head of steam.
Phil Joy, Danny Langtree, Ben Wood and again Crowley all got over the white line to ultimately condemn Steve McCormack’s side to defeat. It was a period of pure aggression and finishing prowess from Oldham, whose ability to score time after time was almost frightening.
It was easy to see the trend continuing for the final periods of the first half, but the All Golds weren’t prepared to hide in their shell. If anything they got fired up and showed some real intensity, the only thing missing was the final finish, and of course the home side were on hand to show them how it’s done. Crowley, almost Ryan Hall like, pushed his way past a number of challengers to force himself and his side into a convincing 42-6 lead.
The second half was all about character and how the All Golds would combat the impressive Oldham attack. And judging on the opening phases of the second period, the response was encouraging as they completed sets and forced the home side into a struggle, ending in Matthew Bradley scoring from a rather fortuitous grubber kick.
It was nice to see such a great effort from the visitors, but it wouldn’t be enough to completely stop the Oldham offensive. As the home side retaliated to the All Golds early pressure scoring a further two times extending their tally to 52 points. Michael Ward powered over the line before Langtree put the final touches on a strong move, where the Roughyeds gained some substantial yards.
Fairbank would soon reply for the away side in what was a fantastic try, involving the half back duo of Ben White and Bradley whose combination guided the way for the second rower to claim his second.
The All Golds really upped their performance in the second half and looked a totally different outfit; now Oldham were unable to stop White scoring his own try. However, with the increase in effort and intensity they soon tired not long before the end and those gaps soon reappeared. The Roughyeds had been so clinical all afternoon and it was no surprise to see them run in a further three tries, from Mooney, Ford and Bloomfield.
It was a fantastic display of attacking and finishing ability, which saw the home side finish with an unbeaten home record and a 68-24 victory. Looking ahead, and it’s a trip to Hunslet in the play-offs for Oldham, where as for today’s visitors it’s preparation for next season as they again look to improve under the guidance of a new coach, as Steve McCormack’s tenure comes to an end.
Man of the Match: Steve Roper
Steve McCormack in his final post game interview as All Golds Head Coach:
“This game epitomized our season really; we had spells in the game like in the first half when we were just on the back foot, Oldham were fantastic like the table suggests. In the second half we could’ve been swallowed up by the ground, or we could have a dig and I thought the boys were superb in the second half.
“I’ have nothing but credit and praise for our lads, we’ve had a horrendous injury list and players that have played at this level for the very first time.
“Four months ago when I came into the club and had an overlook of everything, if somebody said that come the last weekend of the season you’re in with a chance of the play-offs, bearing in mind the players injuries and change in coach, then they (the players) deserve an enormous amount of credit to be within a sniff, and people outside the club probably don’t realise the effort these players have put in.”
|Oldham RLFC||The University of Gloucestershire All Golds|
|4. Steven Nield17. Adam Clay21. David Cookson25. Jon Ford5. Dale Bloomfield
26. Steve Roper
7. Brett Robinson
14. Gareth Owen
15. Paddy Mooney
11. Josh Crowley
12. Danny Langtree
22. Liam Thompson
16. Kenny Hughes
19. Michael Ward
3. Ben Wood
28. Nathan Mason
|1. Phil Cowburn2. Jarrod Ward4. Jamie Crowther11. Sam Te’o5. Scott Claridge
8. Ben White
7. Matthew Bradley
17. Chris Vitalini
19. Craig Cook
10. Izaak Duffy
18. Miles Fairbank
16. Ash Haynes
13. Brendan Smith
9. Steve Parry
15. Connor Nolan
14. Joe McClean
12. James Tutuila
Referee: A. Sweet
Touch Judges: J. Ashton & D. Dutler
Match Commissioner: P. Hewitt