ROCHDALE ended their ten match winless streak with a 38-28 victory over Oldham in the Summer Bash at Bloomfield Road.

Despite trailing 26-12 at the break, the Hornets were able to overhaul their derby rivals in a fiery showcase of the Kingstone Press Championship in front of the Sky cameras.

Oldham opened the scoring in the fifth minute, when Scott Turner pounced on Scott Leatherbarrow’s neat grubber kick down the left side of the field.

Rochdale soon hit back. Danny Yates put them on the attack with a sublime return of a Roughyeds’ drop-goal. Jake Eccleston then juggled the ball before supplying an offload to put Miles Greenwood in at the right corner.

A brawl broke out in the 13th minute, with Jovilisi Taira at the centre of it after his tackle on Richard Lepori. Both players were then sent to the bin and Leatherbarrow added two points to his teams tally from the resulting penalty.

Oldham opted to kick at goal again soon after, but Leatherbarrow’s effort was wayward on that occasion.
Rochdale then came up the other end and came agonisingly close when Gary Middlehurst’s tap back caused danger. Eventually they found a way through with an impactful run from Eccleston off a Lewis Palfrey pass.

The end to end nature of the match continued, as George Tyson was most alert to a bouncing ball in the Hornets’ in goal area. The Roughyeds followed this up in the 38th minute, with a break from Jack Spencer which was finished by Lepori.

The Italian international was soon in again. This time on the back of a tackle burst from Liam Thompson, to put his side firmly in control.

The Palfrey and Eccleston combination soon came to fruition once more, as the skipper put in a short pass for his centre’s second to narrow the lead to 14 points ahead of the interval.

Oldham were first on the scoreboard in the second half, when Leatherbarrow slotted over another penalty. Rochdale hit back when Yates’ ball out the back allowed Galbraith to send Rob Massam over on his outside in the 49th minute.

The Hornets then went close again with Jono Smith and Lee Mitchell, before Ben Moores crossed the whitewash from the base of the ruck and in the 58th minute Jordan Case claimed a Palfrey kick to reach out and level the scores. Yates then added the conversion to complete the comeback.

Two minutes later Lewis Galbraith took advantage of a knock-on from Leatherbarrow and raced 80 metres to touchdown and due to an infringement on him during the scoring, an eight-point-try was awarded. A shoulder charge then saw Rochdale awarded a penalty in front of the posts and Yates added a further two points.

Oldham showed more spirit in the final five minutes, forcing Rochdale to concede penalties, but the Roughyeds’ lacked the required cutting edge to take advantage and their own errors continued to cost them.

A brawl broke out once again in the final minute with Gee receiving a red card for his part and Yates sinbinned.

Rochdale coach Alan Kilshaw spoke to Sky Sports after the match: “We knew at the back end we’d finish strong and last weekend they dropped off a little bit as well, so we thought we could take advantage of that.”

He added: “We just knew we had to out enthuse Oldham. They’re a very enthusiastic side and if we could out enthuse them we back ourselves with the skills we’ve got and the play that we can produce.”

His opposite number Scott Naylor spoke about the similarities to Oldham’s defeat at the Summer Bash to Swinton last year: “It just seems like this place, we’re not meant to win here. No matter what happens in the first half, we just seem to come out in the second half and things just seem to be completely different against us.”

The two sides will meet again on the final day of the regular season at Bower Fold.

OLDHAM: Lepori, Clay, Tyson, Wood, Turner, Leatherbarrow, Owen, Mason, Hughes, Neil, Adamson, Langtree, Spencer
Replacements: Gee, Thompson, Burke, Ward
Tries: Turner, Tyson, Lepori (2)
Goals: Leatherbarrow (6/7)

ROCHDALE: Riley, Greenwood, Eccleston, Galbraith, Massam, Palfrey, Yates, Taira, Maneely, Bennion, Smith, Crowley, Middlehurst
Replacements: Moores, Mitchell, Hadden, Case
Tries: Greenwood, Eccleston (2), Massam, Moores, Case, Galbraith
Goals: Yates (4/7)

Halftime: 26-12
Referee: Liam Moore

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