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Roughyeds romp into round five
Wednesday 21st March 2018 @ 09:23 by Mark Phillip
Sports

Challenge Cup Fourth Round

Halifax 6-27 Oldham

 

It was the third such upset in a fascinating fourth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

First Whitehaven, then York City Knights, then Oldham . . . each of them rising above their Betfred League 1 status to knock Championship sides off the rocky road to Wembley.

The Roughyeds’ 27-6 win at Halifax on Tuesday night earned Scott Naylor’s men a home tie in round five against Super League outfit Hull KR, the side they famously bundled out of the same competition on Humberside two years ago.

Details of when and where this return tie will be played will be announced later.

For now, it’s time for Roughyeds fans to bask in the warmth of a rare triumph at Halifax where Naylor’s band of brothers rolled up their sleeves to dominate proceedings on attack and defence and to score four tries by Danny Langtree, Ben West, Matty Reid and Paul Crook.

Crook finished with 14 points from three conversions, two penalty goals and a try, not to mention an astute kicking game in open play in which he booted Fax to death in harness with half-back partner David Hewitt.

Hewitt’s trademark, long-range daisy-cutters sent the Fax forwards scurrying back to their ten-metre zone time and again.

Make no mistake, these Oldham halves are having a massive bearing on how well Roughyeds are playing this season.

It’s early days yet and we musn’t get too excited about what’s in prospect.

Nevertheless, it was some achievement to win at Halifax and especially so given that they conceded 14 penalties, were placed on a team warning and had full-back Joe Martin sin-binned in the second half for a clumsy-looking challenge on Ben Johnston.

This wasn’t the strongest side Halifax could muster. They go to Toulouse on Saturday and coach Richard Marshall admitted he made a mistake in believing the 17 players he picked for this one would be good enough to steer Fax into the last 16.

They didn’t even get a sniff.

Oldham weren’t at full strength either — no Phil Joy, Adam Jones, Gareth Owen, Jack Holmes for instance — but players like Martin, Ben West, Zack McComb, Jack Spencer and Matty Wilkinson were clearly motivated by facing up to their home-town team or the side they used to play for.

Fired up and determined to succeed, Roughyeds led 12-0 at half-time with tries by Danny Langtree and Ben West and a couple of Crook goals.

You can’t hold down Oldham’s left-flank attack right now. The Hewitt-Bridge-Reid-West quartet looked good in defeat against York and equally impressive here with Reid adding his own try to West’s, albeit a tad fortuitous in the build-up.

When Crook went in for the fourth Oldham try near the end it was all over bar the shouting despite Ben Heaton’s solitary try for Fax in the 56th minute.

Reid and West are looking good on the left; Crook and Hewitt are forging a burgeoning half-back partnership; and the two Dannys, Langtree and Bridge, have the potential to become the best, most lethal, second-row twosome at Oldham for many a year.

Throw in the middle men — Spencer, Neal, Briscoe, Nelmes etc —- and add two jacks-in-the-box in lively dummy half experts Wilkinson and Hughes and you have the makings of a VERY good team.

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Oldham scorers: goals, Crook 5/6; drop goal, Hewitt; tries, Langtree, West, Reid, Crook.

Team: Martin; Eccleston, McComb, Reid, West; Crook, Hewitt; Spencer, Wilkinson, Neal, Bridge, Langtree, Bent. Subs: Briscoe, Hughes, Rasool, Nelmes.

Referee: Billy Pearson; Att: 688.

By Roger Halstead