Rugby League: Skills of Crompton point the way home

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The Independent Online
Oldham. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

Hull. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

AN EXHIBITION of scrum-half skills that belonged at the top rather than the foot of the table gave Oldham's hopes of First Division survival an important boost yesterday, writes Dave Hadfield.

Martin Crompton has been plagued with injury since signing from Wigan, but his display here showed he may yet have a vital role to play in keeping his new side up.

Crompton scored two of Oldham's tries and had the biggest hand in the other two, starting with his well-judged pass after only two minutes to send Mike Kuiti in to open the scoring.

Slack defence allowed the Hull prop, Tim Street, to reply with a try against one of his former clubs and when Mike Dixon dashed over from acting half it seemed that Oldham could be plunging into even deeper trouble.

But Paul Topping landed a penalty and Crompton grabbed Oldham's second try after a promising attack down the left had been switched across field.

Hull, showing far less appetite for the struggle, still went in ahead at half-time thanks to Mark Hewitt's second goal, but Crompton's imaginative kick and re-gather set up the crucial try for Oldham soon after the break. Scott Ranson got the touchdown after Darren Abram had also applied boot to ball.

Despite playing into a fierce wind, Oldham maintained the pressure and it was no more than they deserved when Crompton followed up his own grubber kick and capitalised on Richard Gay's knock-on.

It was even Crompton who added the insurance of a drop goal, but this was no one-man show, with Oldham also indebted to the strength of their player-coach, Bob Lindner, and the endless willingness of players like Jones.

Oldham: Gibson; D Jones, Irwin, Abram, Ranson; Liddiard (Heslop, 53), Crompton; Sheratt (Topping, 18; Liddiard, 78), Clarke, Goodway, Lindner, Tupaea, Kuiti.

Hull: Gay; R Nolan, G Nolan, Grant, Sterling; Hasler, Hewitt; Walker, Dixon, Street (M Jones, 37; Street, 59), Jackson (McNamara, 37), Doyle, Sharpe (Jackson, 66).

Referee: C Morris (Huddersfield).

Bradford Northern, the league leaders, crashed 24-14 at home to Leigh, the bottom club, and had Dave Watson, their New Zealand full-back, sent off shortly before half-time for a late tackle.