In response to an earlier posting, my reason for writing after 8.00pm after a two week absence has nowt to do with “can’t be bothered” to post regarding rugby. Two of us travel 35 miles to every home game and I decided to go t’tip to get rid of garden rubbish and tek dogs for a walk to try to clear my head and try to get something of what is happening clear in my head.
I made a list of the following players:-
And thought – not a reight bad team that – most of whom would get pencilled in first in my team sheet. But for one reason or another they are long term or short term absences. 13 players - errr I think that is a team.
Add to that we have 3 on “loan players” merged into todays team and a half back who cannot be faulted for his goal kicking but rarely attacks the line or is first to make the tackle. His timing of a pass can be sublime as we saw today, as he helped with 2 tries.
Often we were like a rudderless ship, no direction and no-one to steer the course and occasionally running around in circles. Add to that a number of occasions when players were critical of one another with heads dropping, not a good scenario. Yet we earned a bonus point and could have stolen the game in the dying seconds but for the rudder working loose again. There was still enough talent on the pitch to win the game.
We were chasing the game for the full 80 minutes as we only managed to draw on numerous occasions, but were never in the lead. Therefore we continually put ourselves under pressure and took the wrong options. Credit to the Scorpions who were better organised, utilised dummy runners in nearly every play and had the skill and guile to attack the gain line with lots of support options.
First try to Scorpions came on 11 minutes. The excellent Miles Grenwood made an uncharacteristic knock on trying to diffuse a bomb in the glare of the sunshine and the ball was whipped to King who beat new loan signing Holroyde to a foot race and scored in the corner. Great conversion 0 – 6.
Enterprising play from Oldham, Cooky short, lightening play the ball and Reed scores impressive try near posts. Holroyd converts 6 – 6 on 15 minutes.
The next to score is Wigan loan player Greenwood who spins in the tackle and makes it an easy 6 – 12.
Oldham produce some exciting rugby on the back of a storming run from Elli and a superb move as Miles Greenwood crashes into the line and held 5m short. Scorpions attack again forcing Oldham back down the slope. But in the next set, young Holroyde backs himself and breaks up the wing, Cloughy on hand to receive a good pass and score wide out on the right. Holroyd addresses the ball. Everyone is thinking, “Head down as you strike.” He did just that as the ball sailed wide left but hit the post and bounced over. 12 apiece.
The Scorpions hit back on 33mins. Parry , who had an excellent game was able to sprint through a gap made by numerous dummy runners confusing the defence. 12 – 18.
The final score of the half came after good work by Elli, Gilchrist, Cloughy and Whitty. Whitty sends out a pass left, miss one and Miles Greenwood held short. Quick ball from Holroyd and MOM , Michael Ward hits the ball at pace, dives low and horizontal, no stopping him. Excellent conversion by Holroyd and it is 18 – 18.
Oldham just manage to hold out to the hooter as re-start from Scorpions takes a lucky bounce and they are held 1m short.
In the second half, first score to Scorpions who complete a good set with a stubb kick to the corner. Gilly obviously ring rusty tries to gather the bobbling ball in the face of two attackers – misses it completely and Murphy has just enough time to catch the ball and ground it. Great conversion 18 – 24 applied pressure and gifted a try.
Oldham’s turn to apply the pressure and force the drop out. Noone gathers the ball. Gilchrist and Valu punch holes in the defence. A quick play the ball and Holroyd slips a peach of a pass to Miles Greenwood who is on his shoulder and it is 24 – 24. with ten minutes gone.
Next to score is Jones for the Scorpions. On the back of a penalty for a high shot, four drives take them to the line and Jones goes over for a try near the posts. But the score is 24 – 28 as the ball is wide left of posts.
More pressure by Scorpions on the back of two penalties. The second set is completed by a chip and score?? Penalty Oldham offside. Fans helped the touch judge.Penalties were now flowing between the sides. Good chance for Oldham as Noone hits the right channel. Passes inside to a Scorpion, pressure over. A second set completion sees Scorpions chip and score???? Penalty Oldham for offside. Touch judge held his ground again and unfortunate for the Welsh outfit, both were correct decisions.
Oldham attack down the slope, with Cooky, Reed and Gilchrist making metres only for Gilly to come inside and knock on. ( Ring rusty. )
Oldham then gift the Scorpions a great attacking position. The ball is punted upfield and young Holroyde has a brain storm in the heat and tries to gather the ball as it was going into touch 20m out. He fumbles the ball, scrum to South Wales and Parry attacks the blind side and scores untouched , a brilliant solo effort. 24 – 34.
With 12 minutes left Oldham still have time to secure a bonus or win the game?? Scorpions attack two sets later and after 5 drives take a drop goal. 24 – 35 and ball back. Time running out. But dogged defence and Oldham are soon in possession and the excellent Michael Ward is 1m short. More pressure as Oldham force drop out. Toothill takes up the ball and is halted deep in the Scorpions half. The ball is whipped right then left and Toothill on hand to score and make it 30 – 35 with 2 minutes left. Surely one set left. Miles Greenwood puts in one of his blistering runs, but a stray pass and Scorpions back in possession. But more drama as a penalty to Oldham at the Scorpion play the ball. Oldham take the ball to within 1m of the try line, but as so often happened today, ran out of ideas as Whitty was forced back on his own as the hooter went for full time.
After the final whistle the noise was conspicuous by its absence. You could hear a pin drop but for the cheers on the far side from the few faithful Scorpions’ fans. The sullen faces of the players summed up the feeling of the fans who although were aware of the “team” of missing players, believed that there was enough talent on the pitch to win the game given the correct direction”.
Even more disappointing was the fact that a win today, and loss by Whitehaven v Barrow would have reduced the deficit to only one point away from the top four front runners. IF Whitehaven win tomorrow then the gap between Oldham and the top four will be 6 points.
At the moment there is a real lack of confidence on the field to make the correct decisions when the chips are down. We need someone to take the game by the scruff of the neck and rather than criticising players when they drop clangers, ( they don’t need telling !!!) drive them on and raise their self esteem. Having read the last two reports, it was same again – lots of effort – but not always channelled in the correct direction due to lack of leadership. At the moment we are like a bicycle wheel stuck in a tramline. Many penalties given away by the Roughyeds would be my starting point in next weeks discussion as we set out our objectives for the second half of the season. Poor discipline/errors today continually gave the Scorpions many easy metres of territory leading to easy scores.
Roughyeds stung for second timeOldham 30 - Scorpions 35
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