Wire win with the game's bare necessities

Rugby League Oldham 4 Warrington 26
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Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

Oldham 4 Warrington 26

Warrington's new regime of Alex Murphy and John Dorahy saw their side end a seven-match losing run in their first game in charge yesterday, eventually winning through to the last 16 of the Silk Cut Challenge Cup with some ease.

While Murphy and Dorahy were impressing on their men that, after an even first half, cutting out the mistakes in atrocious conditions would be enough to win this match, there was potential inspiration of a different sort for Oldham.

Their mascot, a hyperactive bear, was going through his half-time routine when he was crash-tackled by a middle-aged Warrington fan. But as he was milking the applause at the Warrington end, back came the bear to flatten him comprehensively in retaliation.

Unfortunately, Oldham failed to show the same resilience on a day when the bare necessities were what was required.

Three minutes into the second half, Salesi Finau and Mark Forster kicked through and Forster scored, despite a suspicion of offside. After 55 minutes Iestyn Harris, one of their sizeable Oldham contingent, stood in the tackle to send the lively John Hough stepping through.

That was the end for Oldham, with Lee Penny and Mike Ford adding further tries to complete a convincing winning margin.

"The lads have got it all back together," Dorahy said. "They have responded very well to the changes we have made."

There was certainly a vast improvement in vital commodities like confidence and enthusiasm amongst players who were at rock bottom last month.

"We have had 14 days to turn the club around from one that had just suffered an 80-0 defeat," said Murphy, who was in vintage vocal form from the stand.

Murphy could not resist a ripost to the alleged description of him and Dorahy coined by Jack Robinson, the chairman of Wigan, the club that once employed them.

"These two crackpots are very happy indeed and looking forward to seeing Wigan later in the cup," he said.

The crackpots were not quite so jubilant when they first saw the state of the Watersheddings pitch nor when their side gave away enough possession in the first half to give Oldham every chance. But the second half showed that there has been some method in their madness since taking over and there is a new optimism at Warrington.

Oldham: Atcheson; Leuila, Topping, Abram (Irwin, 62), Belle; Maloney, Crompton; Sherrett, Burns, Temu, Lord, Gildart, Bradbury.

Warrington: Penny; Forster, Rudd, Finau, Currier; Shelford (Ford, 53), Harris; Hilton (Jones, 28), Hough, Chambers (Hilton, 58), Cullen, Knott (Shelford, 70), Sculthorpe.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).

n Leeds were 11 minutes from going out of the cup when they trailed Swinton 22-16 yesterday but Graham Holroyd converted his own try, then put them ahead with a drop goal and Alan Tait made sure with a try in injury time.

n St Helens gave Shaun McRae made a winning 58-16 start as their coach. Level with Castleford at 16-16 after 32 minutes his side scored 42 unanswered points.

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