Both sides enter round ten of the Kingstone Press Championship after great wins last weekend against teams who are currently placed in the higher echelons of the table. Oldham beat Batley 28-12 while Sheffield came away from Bradford with a very impressive 46-28 win.
Last Time Out
Oldham Roughyeds picked up their second win of the year by defeating the high-flying Batley Bulldogs at Bower Fold. A 28-12 victory for last year’s League 1 heavyweights came as a surprise to many people due to the fact Batley have performed brilliantly over the course of the first few months of the season. The hosts held a 12-2 lead at half-time after tries from Richard Lepori and Liam Johnson. Batley could only register a penalty goal in the first 40 minutes of play, typifying the outstanding defence that was on show from the Roughyeds. A Jamel Chisholm brace, as well as a Sam Gee try, gave Oldham an insurmountable advantage in the second half to the delight of their fans. Batley notched two consolation tries in the final ten minutes but it was too little, too late for the Bulldogs to mount a comeback. Wayne Reittie and Tom Lillycrop were the try-scorers for the West Yorkshire side.
Sheffield Eagles’ recent woes were cast aside for 80 minutes in Bradford as Mark Aston’s men triumphed 46-28 over the Bulls. However, despite what the scoreline looked like at the end, it was the West Yorkshire outfit who got off to a great start courtesy of converted tries from Danny Addy and Lee Gaskell. An error from Adrian Purtell a few minutes after the Bulls had a try disallowed gifted Sheffield their first points of the match. Cory Aston latched on to a Purtell pass and the half-back couldn’t be stopped. Sheffield then finished the half with two more tries as they hit the front. Elliot Minchella and Ryan Millar both touched down for the Eagles and the steel city side were in good shape heading into the sheds. A length-of-the-field try from Garry Lo extended the visitors’ advantage after the break but even though the conversion was unsuccessful, Aston made amends with a penalty goal to further the lead to two scores at 24-12. Omari Caro cut the deficit with a well taken try in the corner but the Eagles weren’t to be denied the spoils and three tries on the spin sent their fans into delirium. Mark Mexico, Duane Straugheir and Millar all crossed the whitewash and Sheffield had reached the 40 point mark. Consolation efforts from Kris Welham and James Clare then followed but in-between those tries came a score for George Tyson to round off a brilliant afternoon for the Eagles.
The work of the Eagles forwards against Bradford was exceptional, with Steve Thorpe and Mark Mexico starring in a workmanlike performance in the midfield. Sheffield needed a win over Bradford to keep in touch with the teams in the top four and, despite coming into the game after an array of poor results, they put on a brilliant show. Another eye-catching result in the Championship was Oldham’s defeat of Batley. A resolute performance in defence was duly rewarded and the efforts of starting prop forwards Tyler Dickinson and Phil Joy, as well as the back-row trio of Liam Thompson, Gary Middlehurst and Will Hope, need to be mentioned considering the current injury crisis at the Roughyeds.
Oldham have already conquered two Yorkshire sides on home soil this year and they will be sniffing another win when Sheffield come to visit at the weekend. The Roughyeds’ defensive intensity was a key factor to their win over Batley and a replica performance will put the Eagles in a bit of trouble. The visitors will want to play an expansive style of rugby, something that has gone missing during their recent struggles – Sheffield by 8