Roughyeds hoping for Skolars favour

The best away record in Championship One has guaranteed Oldham a top-two finish.

Four points behind, but with two games still to play, North Wales remain on course to finish top and win automatic promotion, but no other club can finish within six points of the Roughyeds.

The 30-25 win at Rochdale in the last of their 16 league games gave Scott Naylor’s young guns a remarkable 22 points out of a possible 24 on the road.

It was a long and winding road too, with trips to Gateshead, Wrexham, Neath, Oxford, Cheltenham, Hemel Hempsted and London included in their journey.

Club budgets did not allow overnight stops, but the players quickly got used to early starts, leg-stretching sessions on motorway service stations and conditioner Mike Hughes’s healthy-eating packs taken en route.

On their travels, as well as the win at the Hornets, they beat Gloucester 36-0, Hemel 30-12, South Wales 36-32, Gateshead 44-12, Oxford 22-4 and London 44-24.

Their only away defeat was 22-20 against North Wales in Wrexham on June 9, where they were denied two points for a draw because Lewis Palfrey‘s touchline conversion attempt with the last kick of the game passed narrowly wide of the far post.

Crusaders, whose crucial game at London is on Friday night, have already lost two games away – at Hemel and at Whitebank – and no club in the division can match the Roughyeds’ consistency on opponents’ grounds.

Of the seven points they have dropped all season, five were at Whitebank – two each in early-season losses to Rochdale and Oxford, and the fifth in the recent draw with bottom club Gloucestershire.

The Roughyeds are looking for London to beat Crusaders by more than 12 points on Friday – a result which would give Scott Naylor’s boys the championship crown, and with it promotion to the Championship.

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