Date: Sunday 29th March
Venue: Whitebank Stadium
Blackpool awaits the winner of this iPro Sport Cup Semi-Final tie between the Roughyeds and the Crusaders, but the question is, who will be seeing the bright lights of the illuminations come May 23rd?
In The Last Round
Oldham stunned Barrow on the Raiders home patch as they blew them away on a cold afternoon at Craven Park.
A 32-10 win secured the Roughyeds this tasty home draw in the Semi-Final after having to fight from ten behind. Michael Ward, Adam Clay and Huddersfield’s Jodie Broughton, on dual registration, all crossed before half time to open up an eight point lead. Broughton would score again early in the second half with Clay grabbing a second before Sam Gee scored a breakaway try to wrap up a good afternoon’s work for Scott Naylor and his side.
The Crusaders booked this date with Oldham after a 28-4 home thrashing of the Rochdale Hornets in the Quarter Finals.
Despite being on the back foot in the early exchanges, Jamie Dallimore and Gary Middlehurst both crossed against the run of play to set the tone for the afternoon. Despite a Dave Hull reply for Rochdale, the Crusaders would run riot to secure an easy passage into the semi-finals with a Scott Turner double, Karl Ashall and a penalty from Tommy Johnson.
Those two dreaded words, dual registration. Being dealt a good hand by the Giants could prove the difference between Bloomfield Road and falling at the last hurdle for Oldham whilst North Wales are going great guns with and without the odd Warrington player being thrown in.
What The Coaches Say
Oldham Roughyeds Head Coach Scott Naylor:
“We don’t have any injury problems at the moment but we played in a really tough game on Sunday against Sheffield Eagles,” said Naylor. “They are a big unit and of course in the division above us but I’m hoping that the experience has had a positive effect on the team.
“We have the home advantage which is nice and we are viewing this as a really important game, training will be intense this week.
“Barrow are a good team and for us to go up there and get the win with the score-line has definitely given us a boost mentally.”
However, Naylor says that his team have a giant obstacle ahead of them in the form of the Crusaders before they can even start to think about Blackpool.
“North Wales Crusaders are beating everyone in front of them at the moment, they’re the favourites to top the league and so I am expecting a really tough game,” said Naylor.
“It would be great to reach the final, it’s a new day in the calendar and we are desperate to be involved, it’s a huge incentive. I’ve seen what it’s like at Magic Weekend, it’s a great event and we really want to be part of that.”
North Wales Crusaders Head Coach Anthony Murray:
“We played Doncaster at the weekend and came away with a good win,” said Murray. “I’ve got no injury worries and it really feels like we are back in the swing of things now.
“Oldham have always been a stand-out side in this league. They took Barrow apart in the last round and that is not easy to do up there, we are taking them very seriously.
“We’ve hit some good form at the moment and built up some momentum and that is all adding to our confidence.
“It would be a fantastic achievement to get to the final given our disappointing season last year. It would be great to give the fans something to cheer about.”
It’s a tough one to call as North Wales, similar to Swinton in the other Semi-Final, have been in sensational form in 2015 but, and it’s a big but, having Huddersfield players at their disposal with it not being the Challenge Cup and home advantage just tips this to Oldham. – Oldham by 4