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Oldham Roughyeds v Halifax Preview

Oldham Roughyeds and Halifax both moved into the fifth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup last week without any hassle at all as they faced amateur opposition. The Roughyeds are currently outside of the relegation zone in the Championship, and that’s exactly where they’ll be wanting to stay for the rest of the year. Richard Marshall’s Fax side have failed to live up to the lofty expectations they set from last season’s array of fine performances, but patience is most certainly the key for the West Yorkshire outfit.

Last Time Out

Oldham conquered Cumbrian outfit Kells 40-6 at Whitebank last Sunday. The Roughyeds were only 20-6 up at the break after tries from Jamel Chisholm. Jon Ford, Gary Middlehurst and Adam Files. The visitors got on the scoreboard in the final minute of the first period through Ryan Watson. The second half, unfortunately for the amateurs, belonged to Oldham who ran in four more tries to seal the victory and their progression to the next round where they’ll face Hull Kingston Rovers. Jack Holmes and Chisholm completed their doubles during the final 40 minutes while Danny Grimshaw also got on the scoresheet.

Halifax booked a fifth round match with amateurs Castleford Lock Lane by beating Pilkington Recs 78-0 at Langtree Park. Bradford Bulls forward Kurt Haggerty is the coach of Pilks and he can take pride from the way his side battled during the contest despite what the scoreline read by the end. Ed Barber started the scoring for Halifax after eight minutes but it then took nearly 20 minutes for the visitors to extend their advantage. Connor Robinson made his way over the whitewash for a four pointer and the floodgates started to open after that. Halifax scored four more tries before the interval courtesy of Miles Greenwood, Adam Tangata, Gareth Moore and Brandon Moore. Robinson scored his second try of the match on 47 minutes before scores came from Luke Ambler and Sam Smeaton. In the final quarter Jake Eccleston, Jacob Fairbank and Richard Moore all opened their try-scoring accounts while Ambler and G.Moore doubled their tallies to round off the scoring for the match.

Key Battle

The strength in depth that Halifax possess in the backs is really eye-opening. Last weekend saw Will Sharp and Jake Eccleston play out on the wings, with Steve Tyrer and Sam Smeaton in the centres. Sharp and Tyrer are not in this Friday’s 19 man squad but to replace them coach Marshall can, and most likely will, select James Saltonstall and Ben Heaton. Not a bad couple of players to call upon! Compared to other sides that have been promoted to the Championship in past years, Oldham have a decent outside back division to choose from. Adam Clay and Jamel Chisholm bring raw pace on the wings while, in the centres, there’s Jack Holmes and Jon Ford who are both young but are in the right hands with a coach like Scott Naylor at the helm. An interesting battle on the flanks at Bower Fold this Friday.

Oldham gained their only win of the season on home turf against Dewsbury Rams. Halifax are in a similar position to Dewsbury at the moment as they’re not firing on all cylinders so it’s probably right to be wary of the danger the Roughyeds hold. Fax will travel to Bower Fold looking to entertain their travelling fans and pick up a good win to set them in the right direction ahead of the visit of Bradford Bulls on Easter Monday – Halifax by 14

I study Sports Journalism at the University of Sunderland. Write about the Kingstone Press Championship for a few websites, as well as doing match reports and previews for Sheffield Eagles.

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