Oldham scored their second pre-season win yesterday with a thumping 52-6 win against Keighley Cougars.
They marked their homecoming to a newly improved Vestacare Stadium with nine tries and eight goals.
Scores came via Dave Hewitt (2), Danny Rasool (2), with other tries by trialist Zach McComb, Steve Neild, Phil Joy, Danny Bridge and Salford dual registration prop Levy Nzoungou. Paul Crook also added all eight goals.
Keighley did eventually get on the scoreboard through long serving Brendon Rawlins, converted brilliantly by Harry Aaronson but it was to be the host’s day.
This was a game that we covered via Facebook Live Audio.
It left boss Scott Naylor happy at the final whistle.
“I am happy with it. It’s the best we’ve looked. I think the surface is a massive difference. We’ve previously played on two heavy pitches and obviously with the time of year, the weather conditions have not helped. It was nice to play on a dry surface with no rain and just see really what we were like.”
He continued, “I thought we looked good, I thought we looked quick at the ruck, we looked strong. I thought we looked better in good ball than we have, we looked quicker with the ball and our skill levels were a little bit higher. I’d be happier with a higher completion rate attacking people’s lines but fifty-two points, scoring from all over the field, that was nice. We got a few tries from our own yardage and a complete mixture of tries really, our fringes scoring and our middle units scoring. Overall it was a real strong, solid performance. It’s nice for our fringe lads and a couple of our trialists to get on the scoreboard too. Overall it’s been a good day.”
Naylor praised all five of his trialists, “They have been brilliant all pre-season and haven’t put a foot wrong. They’ve done everything that we’ve asked of them. They’ve played two games although the Barrow one was unfortunate and didn’t really give us the chance that we’d have liked, but today has and we’ve got some tough decisions to be made in honesty.”
He also welcomed the return of the club to Vestacare Stadium following a couple of seasons away at Stalybridge.
“It’s nice to be back here. Stalybridge was good for us. Stalybridge was the right place for us to play in the Championship, the ground was perfect for us, the size of it, the facilities and they looked after us brilliantly, but this is our home, this is where we want to play rugby and this is where we’d prefer to be at, especially for this season going forward and we now need to make it that sort of fortress it was before we got relegated, when people didn’t want to come here.”