Naylor’s ‘remarkable achievement’ at Oldham

Scott Naylor and his young Oldham squad have done a “truly remarkable” job this season in stamping their authority on Championship One.
That’s the view of chairman Chris Hamilton, who says he has total confidence in his table-topping Roughyeds’ ability to finish the job and win promotion.
Having denied title rivals North Wales Crusaders a bonus point in a 28-10 win at Whitebank last Sunday, Naylor’s boys are now the only team in the division to have picked up at least one point from every league game they have played.
They boast a five-point lead at the top and although Crusaders have two games in hand Oldham are strongly fancied to win one of the promotion spots, either automatically as league winners or via a five-club play-off.
Fans turned out in force to watch the clash of the top two, an attendance of 1,209 more than doubling the season’s average.
Said Hamilton: “Results on the field are no fluke.
“A year ago we changed things around in several areas in an attempt to create a different ethos.
“Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks that has clearly been achieved.”
Pointing out that Naylor was in his first head coach’s job, that his assistant Lee Spencer had never worked at this level before, that the squad was young and comparatively inexperienced and that more than a dozen players were in senior rugby for the first time, the chairman said he couldn’t praise them enough.
He went on: “Several factors are involved – the quality of the coaches and their conditioner, Mike Hughes; the superb training facilities we use at Oasis Academy Oldham; and our careful selection of players when we were building the squad.
“We looked for more than ability, we wanted the right kind of people also.
“We wanted young players who were keen to work hard in a tough environment, knowing that it would improve them as players.
“There were always going to be some who fell by the wayside, but throughout it all there was a collective determination within the squad to improve and develop.
“We now have a group who are so together, so focused and have so much belief in themselves and what the coaches are doing that you can’t put a price on it.
“The players knew they could beat North Wales if they played to their strengths, and that’s exactly what they did.
“They deserved the backing of such a good crowd, which included lots of new fans thanks to our work in the local community in partnership with Regenda.
“We hope they will come back for more, knowing they will be guaranteed 100 per cent effort, commitment and pride in the jersey.
“If we had told people at the start of the season that we would be where we are now with three games left, they would have laughed.
“The challenge for us now is to win three games which will each be like a cup tie.
“It will be tough, but the dressing room is full of level-headed people who know what they have to do to make it happen.
“We go to London Skolars on Sunday, never easy, then it’s ever-improving Gloucester at home, followed four days later by a trip to Rochdale, who will be gunning for us.
“I have every confidence in Scott (Naylor), ‘Spanner’ (Lee Spencer) and the boys to deliver.
“And we naturally hope fans old and new will stick with us as we strive for our season’s objective – promotion.”