11th January 2018, 00:12
REPORT: Hornets 24-28 Oldham
ATTRACTIVE rugby league was hard to come by at the Crown Oil Arena in this rearranged Law Cup fixture with both sides yet to play any minutes in 2018. New, and in some cases, old names peppered the team sheet with players from both sides being familiar to both sets of fans.
Hornets’ all time leading points scorer Paul Crook pulled the strings for Oldham while it was Luke Adamson who provided some blockbusting runs for Hornets in a game that was widely kept in the balance.
Both sides crossed the white wash four times but it was Crook’s eye for goal that eventually saw Roughyeds edge the contest by four points and head down the A627 with the Law Cup under one arm.
Oldham started the brighter and pressed Hornets with repeat sets and eventually crossed after just four minutes. Matt Reid managed to get the better of Callum Mulkeen to barge over for the opening score but Crook couldn't convert from out wide.
Hornets hit back with repeat sets of their own and when Oldham were penalised for holding down some smart play saw new signing Luke Adamson break the Oldham line to feed Ben Moores on his right shoulder to level things up. Lewis Palfrey added the goal and Hornets took a 6-4 lead.
With the heavy Spotland surface slowing the game down, Hornets eventually found their feet with some well organised play finding Palfrey in the middle who chipped over for the on rushing Earl Hurst but an Oldham man almost snatched the ball from his grasp sending into the path of Gary Middlehurst who pounced on the loose ball to extend the lead. Palfrey again added the extras to make it 12-4.
Oldham would have the final say of the half though, with Crook linking up with the trialist, Barlow on the left edge to float a kick through for him to grab and dot down for a try. Crook again showed his skill with the boot to convert from the whitewash to take Oldham into the sheds just two points behind.
Half time: Rochdale Hornets 12-10 Oldham RLFC.
Hornets started the second half like they did the first, very passive and struggled to find any kind of rhythm and with 49 minutes on the clock, Oldham had their chance to level the game up. The touch judge spotted a Dave Allen high tackle leaving the visitors with a kickable penalty. Up stepped Crook again to level the scores.
The typical arm wrestle ensued that had become a trademark in games featuring the two clubs over the last couple of years and it was a case of who would blink first as Alan Kilshaw introduced some young debutants to the fold and reshuffled the pack with the impressive Luke Adamson also returning alongside Joe Taira.
Though it was Oldham who would go on to register the next points with Crook again knocking over a penalty to nudge the visitors in front before they then found the line with Danny Bridge laying on a stunning flat pass to send Reid through a gap on Hornets’ right flank to gallop away for his second try of the night. Crook landed another conversion to make it 12-20.
Hornets responded through Luke Adamson who charged down a Dave Hewitt kick. The ball bobbled toward the try line with Adamson biding his time in snaffling the loose ball to carry it over the line to score. Palfrey made it three from three and Hornets were back in it at 18-20.
The visitors though did enough to keep Hornets at arms length with Crook again sliding a kick to the in goal which pin balled around for what felt like an age before an Oldham man dove on the loose ball to claim a try. Crook again added the two and then a further penalty moments later for Oldham to extend their lead to 10 points for what many thought would be the last score of the night but with minutes left on the clock Hornets found themselves camped in the Oldham half from a short kick off that was fumbled into touch.
Some shrewd Hornets build up play allowed young debutant Blake Turner to burst through the Oldham line and carry a number of defenders into the in-goal before slamming the ball down to set up a dramatic finale with Palfrey adding the goal to put Hornets a converted score away from victory but Oldham managed to hold out to record a 24-28 Law Cup victory.