UPWARDLY mobile Oldham Roughyeds will be looking to capitalise on their forthcoming fixtures after lifting themselves into the top four of Betfred League One.
In their next nine games Oldham face eight sides sitting below them in the table including a trip on Saturday, May 19 to competition whipping boys West Wales.
And coach Scott Naylor has already praised his team for its “professional job” in beating Hemel Stags 74-6 – the club’s biggest winning margin for eight years.
Following a trip to Doncaster on June 3 – currently third – Oldham face Coventry (a), London Skolars (h), Hunslet (a), Workington (h), West Wales (h), Keighley (a) and North Wales Crusaders.
West Wales have lost all seven of their opening games scoring just 44 points and conceding 626. Included in that depressing sequence is a world record 144-0 defeat to York City Knights and 124-0 against Bradford Bulls.
In their last outing they avoided a third successive whitewash but lost 70-18 at home to Doncaster.
At the same time, Oldham came from 6-0 down to hammer Hemel with 13 tries and 11 goals.
“We did a professional job, but there is always a danger lurking in a game like this; there’s a big temptation for players to go away from structure and start making things up as they go along,” said Naylor.
“That’s usually when things go wrong, but in the main we stuck to what we had been doing in training and that stood us in good stead.
“I thought everyone who came into the side did very well. It wasn’t an inspirational game but you can only do what you have to do. That we did that, achieving what we set out to do, is beyond question.
“Because of the way the fixtures have dropped, we’ve had a difficult start to the season, so we needed to make up ground in our ‘for and against’ stats by scoring some points and by playing some nice, expansive rugby.”
After the early blip, Roughyeds rattled up 74 unanswered points with 11 goals by Paul Crook and 13 tries from McComb (3), Danny Bridge (2), Luke Nelmes (2), Kyran Johnson (2), Gareth Owen, Ben West, Matty Wilkinson and dual-reg forward Gavin Bennion.
Crook’s 11 goals were the most by an Oldham marksman since Steve Roper kicked a dozen in a 76-12 win at Oxford in the final game of the 2015 regular season when Naylor’s men went on to clinch promotion.
You go even further back, to March 2010, for a bigger winning margin than 68 when they beat Welsh amateurs Blackwood 80-6 in a third-round Challenge Cup tie.
uuOldham’s Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final dream died against Hull KR at Stalybridge who themselves exited the competition at home to 19-times winners Wigan.
However, Roughyeds fans can still get to Wembley for the final on August 25. Available now is a £55 offer which includes a Club Wembley ticket plus free executive coach travel from Oldham and back, leaving the Vestacare Stadium at 8.30am and returning at 5.30pm.
The first 50 to book will be invited to take part in the pre-match Wembley Parade around the arena and one of them will carry the Oldham RLFC flag.
Tickets are limited so ring 07904 898177 for further details or go to: www.roughyeds.co.uk
Prop Ben Davies is in the running to play his first game of the season against the Raiders in Llanelli after overcoming pre-season back problems.