Oldham regain Law Cup
Friday 12th January 2018 @ 09:50 by Mark Phillip
Sports

Danny Langtree’s first knock-on of the season didn’t affect the result: he dropped the plinth when picking up the Law Cup after Oldham’s impressive trophy triumph against derby rivals Rochdale Hornets at the Crown Oil Arena.

It produced one of the biggest cheers of the night . . . and there were plenty of those for Oldham fans to savour during a hard-working and well-deserved win which owed much to resolute defence and sheer hard work from a new-look yet totally committed outfit.

‘Langers’, duty captain in the absence of injured club skipper Gareth Owen, had a big game out wide on the right, displaying safer hands on the field than he did at the trophy presentation.

And he had an equally-impressive second-row ally on the other side of the field in Danny Bridge — one of ten new signings given their chance to make early impressions on head coach Scott Naylor and his No 2, Peter Carey.

Bridge, centre Matt Reid and trialist winger Chris Barlow, a Buxton boy, formed a brand-new left-flank partnership that looked to be brimming over with potential.

Reid (25), a former captain of Coventry Bears, was in great form when scoring two tries, the second of which was an absolute beauty. Put in the clear at half way on a defence-splitting pass from Bridge, he used Barlow on his left as a foil before sending the Hornets full-back the wrong way with an outrageous dummy and going through to score.

Said Reid: “It’s a good job it came off, otherwise I might have been in a spot of bother for not giving Chris the ball. Nevertheless, it was good to score and to be part of this team. It was a good way to start off at a new club.”

Reid, who lifted the Oldham RL Heritage Trophy as Roughyeds’ man of the match, and his left-flank accomplice Bridge were not the only new signings to shine.

Veteran Paul Crook, at 31 the man who has been brought in to provide a young squad with an old head in the middle of the field, kicked Rochdale to death and hit them hard with six goals from seven shots, including three second-half penalties which were to prove crucial.

Fellow newcomers Liam Bent, Luke Nelmes and Adam Jones caught the eye in the forwards where Roughyeds certainly look strong enough to make an impact physically in League 1.

Hornets led 12-10 at half-time, but Oldham totally dominated the second half, thanks mainly to their strong-tackling forwards and the territorial kicking of Crook and his half-back partner, Dave Hewitt.

Scorers: Hornets — tries, Moores, Middlehurst, L Adamson, Turner; goals, Palfrey 4/4; Oldham — tries, Reid (2), Barlow, Nield; goals, Crook 6/7.

Hornets: Lepori; Kay, Mulkeen, Hurst, Gaskell; Palfrey, Yates; Taira, Moores, Mitchell, Middlehurst, Allen, L Adamson. Replacements: Maneely, T Adamson, Hadden, Hema, Turner, Brickhill, Hatton, Gregory.

Oldham: Johnson; Eccleston, Holmes, Reid, Barlow; Crook, Hewitt; Neal, Hughes, Spencer, Bridge, Langtree, Bent. Replacements: Briscoe, Davies, Jones, Nelmes, Neild, Wilkinson, Rasool.

Referee: John McMullen; Att: 504.

By Roger Halstead