MATCH REPORT Barrow Raiders 16-6 Oldham
Monday 22nd January 2018 @ 12:45 by Mark Phillip

Pre-Season Friendly



While a Law Cup win at Rochdale was considered by Oldham to be all-important, it was less so at Barrow where this second pre-season run-out was principally seen as an opportunity for coach Scott Naylor to look at all the players who have been training with the club since last November.

Barrow were minus several players who had ‘flu, among them Nathan Mossop, Joe Bullock, Andy Litherland and Dan Toal, while Roughyeds went into battle without six who had figured in the win at Rochdale, namely Danny Langtree, Steven Nield, Ben Davies, Liam Bent, Jack Holmes and Dave Eccleston.

Naylor fielded five trialists — Chris Barlow for the second time and Ben West, Zak McComb, Harry Maders and Joe Martin on debut.

That, coupled with horrendous weather conditions and a soggy surface, meant it was impossible for either side to use respective performances as a pointer to more serious things to come, although Naylor will take great comfort from the Roughyeds’ spirit and honesty; the contributions of his five non-contracted men; and, especially, the way in which forwards Phil Joy and Craig Briscoe came through with flying colours.

It was prop-forward Joy’s first game since May last year and his first since major surgery to reconstruct a shoulder.

Briscoe had a taster against Rochdale, but this was only his second appearance since August, 2016, after which he had a full reconstruction of a knee.

Both players led from the front and, more importantly, survived this rugged slog in the Craven Park mud without further mishap.

Joy even had the satisfaction of scoring Oldham’s only try just before half-time when he gathered in Kenny Hughes’s defence-splitting ball from dummy half and crashed over the line, taking a couple of defenders with him.

“The try was a bonus. It was just great to be back on the field again, even though the conditions were some of the worst I’ve played in,” summed up a delighted Joy, still shivering visibly while tucking into his post-match pizza.

While two Barrow players needed medical attention after the game because of hypothermia-type symptoms, Naylor said the game should have been abandoned midway through the second half.

In weather like that it was inevitably going to be a forward battle in the middle. Barrow enjoyed a 6-1 advantage in penalties — crucial in the incessant rain and sleet — but they also had the edge because they were more clinical in turning scoring opportunities into points.

That said, things went their way in the first half when Oldham’s Matt Reid had a try disallowed for offside by a touchjudge and when the home side’s first try was the direct result of a Jamie Dallimore grubber on the last tackle which hit an upright and ricocheted fortuitously into the path of Lewis Charnock, who scored.

Barrow went 10-0 up with the first of centre Declan Hulme’s two tries after half an hour, but Joy’s try, goaled by Paul Crook, meant the game was wide open at 10-6 until Hulme crossed again with only four minutes left.

Scorers: Barrow — tries, Charnock, Hulme (2); goals, Charnock 2/3; Oldham — try, Joy; goal, Crook 1/1.

Barrow: Fieldhouse; S Toal, Hulme. Luxham, Carter; Dallimore, Charnock; Riley, Ashall, Susino, Smith, Crellin, Aspinwall; Replacements: Parata, Duffy, Duerden, Ford, Holmes, Cresswell.

Oldham: Johnson; West, McComb, Reid, Barlow; Crook, Hewitt; Joy, Wilkinson, Neal, Briscoe, Bridge, Jones; Replacements: Hughes, Maders, Martin, Nelmes, Rasool, Spencer.

Ref: M Griffiths; Att: 606.


By Roger Halstead

Pictures: Oldham’s official website¬†