Rovers are too strong in Oldham's first game back after 12 months

Date published: 08 March 2021

Oldham's first game back after a 12-month break was always going to be tough against a top-quality team like Featherstone Rovers and so it proved as the hosts ran out 58-10 victors in Saturday's friendly clash.

Rovers scored 12 tries in total – a statistic in itself that clearly indicates that Matt Diskin’s men need to do a lot of work on defence before the start of the season proper.

Fans will no doubt see a much-improved Oldham performance in the second warm-up game next Saturday against Halifax Panthers at Bower Fold.

Roughyeds saw nothing of the ball in the first half and were constantly on the back foot as Rovers launched one attack after another.

It was one-way traffic as the visitors were asked to tackle and cover with hardly a moment in which to catch their breath.

The second-half performance was much improved with ball in hand, but the Roughyeds clearly have a lot of work to do before the season proper starts up with the visit of Barrow Raiders to Bower Fold in a fortnight in the first round of the Betfred Challenge Cup.

Youngster James Barran, who didn’t look at all fazed by the quality and strength of the opposition, split the Rovers defence with a quality kick to the corner in the build-up to the first Oldham try by Ryan Ince.

Playing at centre, Ince was one of the better players in red and white, as was Matthew Fletcher, one of ten substitutes, who finished powerfully to score the second Oldham try deep into the second-half.

Dave Hewitt kicked the goal.

Overall, it wasn’t Oldham’s day, but better now than later when there will be more relevant games in which the Roughyeds can prove they’ve learned the lessons from the Millennium Stadium.

Oldham team: Dan Abram; Tommy Brierley, Max Roberts, Ryan Ince, Joe Hartley; Lewis Charnock, Dave Hewitt; Liam Kirk, Gareth Owen, Phil Joy, Danny Langtree, Liam Bent, Martyn Reilly.

Subs: Ben Heaton, Luke Nelmes, Tyler Dupree. Matthew Fletcher, Jode Sheriffe, Callum Green, Danny Bridge, James Barran, Ben Holcroft, Declan Gregory.

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