From the start, Boultsy made a great break, Rats put up a bomb with Noony pressurising the full back into giving away a drop out under the posts. Ben Heaton gathered, made excellent yards with young Gilchrist just short. Rats dummied then fanned the ball left with Brocky receiving the ball on the touch line as he powered over in the corner. Great conversion from Mick Diveney from the touchline, bang in the middle of the posts, 6 – 0.
Andy Isherwood was the next to score, following a penalty to Oldham. The ball was whipped to the right as he hit the gap and scored near the posts. 12 – 0.
Gateshead re-started with a kick out on the full. From the penalty Oldham ran the ball and Mick finished the set with a kick for the corner that just went into touch near the flag before the player could reach it. Ben Heaton often hit the line well, but on more than one occasion tried to clear his line by lateral running, often only making a yard forward. His more direct running was far more effective.
Ben Wood showed his true defensive and attacking skills as he first forced a knock on with a massive hit and then made a terrific break only to send out a poor pass resulting in a knock on. Rats received a ball on his boot laces, but gathered it quickly before some stern Gateshead defence prevented a further score. But the wily Oldham captain then put Valu Bentley through with a lovely pass and he scored left of the posts. 18 – 0.
The next score came following great yards by the forwards up the pitch. Mick Diveney linked with Ben Wood, who gave the ball to young Foggy on his touchline who timed his “take” to perfection and was able to cross the line and score at the back of the posts. 24 – 0. Mick on target again.
Following more enterprising play by Oldham, Mick put up a huge bomb, and as the ball descended, it hit a Gateshead player, and the impressive Brocky was in the right place at the right time, as he scooped the ball out of the air and crossed again in the corner. This was another tough kick from the touchline, but Mick struck the ball with confidence and another superb conversion saw the score extended to 30 – 0.
In the dying seconds of the half, Whitty received the ball and ripped up the middle running a full 60 yds. , and with Ben Heaton on his left in support, he put the ball in the bread basket. It looked a certain score as Heaton raced to the posts, but the most effective tackle in that situation was applied as he was ankle tapped just short of the line. Ben hit the floor like a ton of bricks and spilled the ball as the half time hooter went.
Oldham were soon in scoring ways again as some strong running down the middle saw Valu score under the posts. As ever, Mick on target, 36 – 0. Another great Whitty, Ben Heaton combination created mayhem in the defensive line as Ben Wood was brought back for a forward pass. It wasn’t long before the lads were pressing the try line again. Rats was on hand and rather than show and go, and set up his 100th try, he unselfishly drew the man and put Jack Bradbury into the gap. 40 – 0. With another attempt from the touchline, Mick was just wide, but another terrific kick.
Gateshead added another re-start out on the full, to their downfall, and as the ball was worked right, that powerhouse of a winger, Foggy scored an excellent try as he brushed off defenders and scored right of posts. 40 – 0 just wide again with the kick.
Some untidy play by Oldham, and enterprising play by Gateshead saw then held up over the line. Oldham receive penalty for crossing and re-start on half way. Andy Isherwood brushed off numerous would be tacklers and took the tally to 48 – 0. 50 – 0 with yet another conversion.
Never say die, Gateshead continued to apply pressure in defence and the ball went to ground. A pacy Thunder player was quick to respond and scooped up the ball at speed and sprinted 50 yds to the line for a deserved score. Good conversion 50 – 6.
Following scrappy play by both sides, Oldham receive a penalty. Deep in Thunder territory, Ben Heaton receives a ball on his boot laces, gathers superbly, passes on to Braddy who sends out a peach to Brocky, and like good wingers hits the ball at pace and scores his hat trick. Kicking superbly, Mick extends the score to 56 – 6.
Following more good Oldham pressure and then a knock on, Gateshead attack up the hill. What a great try, as Oldham moved up in a line. The Thunder half back, chipped into the box and amazingly the ball bounced up from a sticky surface and he gathered to score a deserved try under the posts. 56 – 12 and no-one would deny them two very good scores. But Oldham bounced back into life and finished the game with two more good scores. Braddy received the ball and with acres of space left whipped the ball into the waiting arms of Brocky who sprinted for the line to get his fourth of the game and helped earn him the MOM. 60 – 12 with another narrow miss. More Oldham pressure saw the Thunder side concede another try to the strong running Andy Isherwood. 64 -12. 66 -12 with Mick adding another.
A good start to the campaign, but what is also great to see is that we now have a definite “Oldham culture” with the team liberally sprinkled with “Owdam lads” or lads who have progressed through our excellent reserve grade. It is “cool” to come from Oldham, or through the “Oldham ranks” and earn and secure a first team jersey.
Edited by TBozz, 14 March 2011 - 10:39 AM.