MATCH REPORT – Newcastle Thunder 24 – 18 Oldham Roughyeds

Newcastle Thunder left it late to come out on top in an edgy encounter against Oldham at Kingston Park Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a dramatic finale to a game that at times failed to fire.

Livewire fullback Theerapol Ritson was the man who secured the spoils for the home side as with a decisive, well worked try three minutes from time on an afternoon where both sides had cancelled each other out for large periods.

The day started on a sprightly note as Oldham opened the scoring with a close-range effort after capitalising on a Thunder mistake, with Liam Bent the man to profit from some quick short range passes with a converted score.

Going close to a second in similar circumstances, Thunder had the powerful last ditch efforts of Mo Agoro to thank for keeping Oldham out the next quarter of an hour would be played in the middle third of the pitch, with neither side able to find a way through.

A moment of magic from Theerapol Ritson saw  Thunder’s full back darted down the wing before employing some fancy footwork to get his side on the front foot before Adam Brook carried further and earned his side a penalty

From the resulting set, Agoro resisted the attentions of three defenders to pump his way over from close range, with Remy Marginet adding the extras.

With scoring opportunities again proving limited in the rest of the half, Oldham opted to kick at goal when Thunder gave a away a penalty 20m from their line with half time approaching, but the relatively straight forward kick was pushed wide across the face of goal.

All square following the break, a brutal burst of effort and energy from Oldham saw them bag two quick fire tries early in the second half and seize control of the game.

With some clever offloads out of the tackle allowing Lee Kershaw to come onto a play the ball at pace, the winger crashed his way through the Thunder defence to take the lead before an enforced repeat set gave them a 12 point cushion.

Having made Thunder concede a goal line drop out with a neat chip through, Luke Nelmes made sure that it counted with another score owed to determination and power.

With 15 to go, Ritson got Thunder back to within one score when a switch of direction saw the Oldham defensive line contract and create an acre of space into which Lewis Young chipped a well-weighted kick that the fullback scooped up and got his side back into contention.

Thunder were level of the next play when they found themselves with a two on one and an expertly executed pass allowing Marginet a free run to the line for a try he went on to convert.

As the game entered its final minutes, both sides attempted to edge ahead with half-hearted drop goal attempts that were off the mark, before Thunder’s fleet-footed Cumbrian sealed the deal.

Playing off a scrum following an Oldham forward pass, the ball was worked out to the wing where Ritson arced around two defenders into free air, before hitting the jets for a converted try.

A penalty in the final seconds gave Oldham a shot at securing a draw but with only one tackle to make that happen, Thunder were able to see off the threat and take the win.

Newcastle Thunder

Theerapol Ritson, Mo Agoro, Tyler Craig, Lewis Young, Ben Dent, Adam Brook, Remy Marginet, Harry Aldous, Evan Simons, Jack Aldous, Jed Charlton, Aaron Ollett, Sam Luckley, Liam Richmond, Conor Fitzsimmons, Vincent Rennie, Sam Blake

Try Scorer – Agoro (23) Ritson (65, 78) Marginet (67)

Goal Scorers – Marginet 4/4

Oldham RLFC

Kyran Johnson, David Ecclestone, Matthew Reid, Zack McComb, Lee Kershaw, Paul Crook, David Hewitt, Jack Spencer, Gareth Owen, Phillip Joy, Craig Briscoe, Danny Langtree, Liam Bent, Adam Neal, Matthew Wilkinson, Ben Davies, Luke Nelmes

Penalty count: 6/4

Half-time: 6-6

Referee: C. Smith

Attendance: 749