MATCH REPORT – Thunder 28 – Oldham 22

Newcastle Thunder produced a superb second-half fight-back to record the third Betfred League 1 win of the season on Sunday afternoon, as 18 unanswered points saw them home against Oldham.

On a day that the club used to mark the 20th anniversary of the club’s first Super League match, and the first for new head coach Simon Finnigan at the helm, it was a spirited performance that produced a remarkable turnaround.

Oldham were 0-12 up in the opening 10 minutes as Thunder indiscipline allowed them to launch some strong attacks deep in the hosts half.

First Scott Law crashed over from short range after Oldham played their way from 30m out after Rhys Clarke was pinged for a late hit before an offside penalty laid the platform for their second, as a floated wide pass 10m out fell into the hands of Aaron Jones-Bishop for an acrobatic score.

Looking to get back into the game, the hosts were working themselves into dangerous positions and earned a repeat set as Mo Agoro was obstructed as he tried to compete for a high ball, but there was no impact on the scoreboard on the subsequent set, as Oldham dealt with the threat.

Having ridden out that passage of Thunder possession, Oldham were again able to make the most of a Thunder error as a poor pass from Carne Doyle-Manga was pounced on and allowed the Roughyeds to race upfield.

While cover tackles were made and Thunder’s defensive line got back into place, Oldham’s speed forced the hosts to bite in, creating space on the right wing and allowing Lee Kershaw a walk in for a 16-point lead.

Re-gathering themselves, Thunder made their first impression on the scoreboard after 25 minutes thanks to a superb try for young starlet Alex Clegg.

Switching the angle of attack after some hard carries from Rhys Clarke and Liam McAvoy, the ball was worked through the hands to the wing for Clegg to dive in and score.

Oldham regained a 16-point advantage shortly after through Anthony Bowman, but Thunder had the last word of the half as Kieran Gill picked a gap to crash over after another well-worked attack.

Returning to the field only two tries down, Thunder continued to swing the momentum of the game to their favour and ensured a solid start to the second 40 became a good one, as another overlap allowed Tyler Craig to go over untouched.

It was the start of a prolonged period that Thunder spent in Oldham territory, as aggressive defence and purposeful attack allowed Newcastle to build the pressure on their visitors.

After forcing a goal line drop out, Clegg produced another stylish finish that with Jymel Coleman’s dead-eye touchline conversion levelled the scores.

With a simple shot at goal offered on 60mins, Coleman put his side into the lead for the first time with an easy two points and when another high tackle put Jack Spencer into the sin-bin, it was an advantage that the hosts were able to make the most of.

A man to the good, it was the superiority of numbers that allowed them to take the lead to a converted score as Clegg completed his hat-trick with the simplest of his three scores of the day.

With a quarter of an hour left, there was plenty of time for further scores, but in the end, Thunder’s defensive resolve ultimately came up trumps and allowed the majority of the 889 in attendance to head home happy.

Newcastle Thunder

Lewis Young, Mo Agoro, Tyler Craig, Kieran Gill, Alex Clegg, Cory Aston, Jymel Coleman, Jack Aldous, Keal Carlile, Carne Doyle-Manga, Rhys Clarke, Aaron Ollett, Evan Simons, Liam McAvoy, Conor Fitzsimmons, Alex Rowe, Jared Blanke

Tries: Clegg (24, 50, 66), Gill (39), Craig (42

Goals: Coleman 4/6

Oldham RLFC

Kyran Johnson, Aaron Bishop-Jones, Jack Holmes, Zack McComb, Lee Kershaw, Anthony Bowman, David Hewitt, Jack Spencer, Gareth Owen, Scott Law, Ben Calland, Emmerson Whittel, Liam Bent, Jamie Greenwood, Tendai Gwaze, Frazer Morris, Matthew Wilkinson

Tries: Law (2), Bishop-Jones (6), Kershaw (17) Bowman 32

Goals: Hewitt 3 / 4

Sinbin: Spencer – High Tackle