7th October 2019, 07:30 | league_1
Oldham RLFC proved too strong for Newcastle Thunder, as they sealed promotion to the Betfred Championship after winning a pulsating play-off final 18-14.
In a topsy-turvey affair, the visiting Thunder led three times, more than playing their part in a fabulous finale, before the Roughyeds pinched it with a late Jimmy Beckett try to secure promotion.
Newcastle hit the front first, with Misi Taulapapa crossing after extended Thunder pressure, before Oldham hit back, as Danny Langtree reacted quickest to a kick off the posts to touchdown, with Paul Crook's conversion ensuring the home side would lead at the break.
The second half was as tense as it was thrilling, with Newcastle taking the lead again thanks to Joel Edwards just after the break, before the Roughyeds again hit back, with Zack McComb picking up the pieces from a crosskick.
Taulapapa was in again soon after for the visitors, giving them the lead with just over 20 minutes to play, but it was Beckett who had the final say and the home side who would take the spoils.
Departing Oldham coach Scott Naylor, who leaves the Roughyeds after seven years with the club, was delighted to be going out on a high:
"I'm absolutely ecstatic. I thought the lads were amazing, the effort was absolutely incredible. For the money we spend compared to some teams, for us to be getting promoted is just brilliant, and it's down to the lads.
With Ritchie Hawkyard, you basically jusy glue him back together every week, and he's there with 20+ carries, it's amazing.
Some of these lads have been here for seven years with me, it's been a pleasure, i've absolutely loved it".
Hawkyard, who was voted Our League player of the match, was delighted with his team's effort:
"I'm made up for all the boys, there's a few retiring and Scott Naylor is leaving, so we wanted to do it for everyone. The fans have turned out today in numbers for us.
"We knew from the start they (Newcastle) weren't going to go away, they've got some quality lads and they've been growing and growing throughout the season, and today they came here and got on the front foot, but we didn't go away. It was tit for tat throughout the game, and it was a great spectacle for League 1".
🗣️ "The fans have been like our 18th man..." a win for the fans and some departing stars!— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) October 6, 2019
🙌 @Roughyeds' Ritchie Hawkyard is your #OURLEAGUE Man of the Match with 59% of the vote! pic.twitter.com/EJ1OB2L5RQ