James Webster delighted as Featherstone Rovers return to action with 58-10 win over Oldham
JAMES WEBSTER was delighted just to see his Featherstone Rovers side on the field again as they recorded a 58-10 friendly win over Oldham.
It was the first piece of action at Post Office Road for just under 12 months, although the contest was played behind closed doors due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Tries were scored at a regular pace throughout with Rovers crossing the whitewash 12 times to Oldham's two.
It was the first of two pre-season outings for Rovers, who face Batley next weekend before their competitive campaign gets underway against Bradford Bulls in the Challenge Cup on March 21.
"We have trained for so long and to have so many false dawns, to get out there is fantastic," said Webster.
"We came through the game with no injuries. We move onto Batley which is another stepping stone for Bradford.
"I thought it was important that after such a long period out that I didn't overplay people. I wanted to limit people's minutes today. I didn't want to overdo us on the first week."
Webster was delighted with the display from his players and felt it was good to get back in the match-day routine after such a prolonged period out of action.
He said: "We were aggressive and turned the ball over in some decent areas. We were pretty dominant in that game and that allowed us to get off our line and get stuck into them.
"It is only early days. The game served its purpose. This is just a building block. The idea was to share the minutes out and get some hard contact.
"It is hard to do good contact at training. We needed to feel what it was like to turn up to a stadium again, getting strapped and ready to play against someone in different colours.
"We look forward to a good test against Batley to prepare us for the week after that."
The fixture marked a first outing in 18 months for Featherstone forwards Brad Day and John Davies. The pair didn't play any part in Rovers' curtailed 2020 season due to injury.
Webster said: "They are two experienced players and neither of them played for the club last year. I coached Brad when he was a younger kid at Wakefield. It was good that they both played.
"Brad will get some confidence from getting out and playing after being out for 18 months now. John had an ankle operation last year and that was his first game for around the same period as well."
Ben Blackmore opened the scoring on six minutes before Tom Holmes added a second try three minutes later. James Harrison put Rovers even further in front on 16 minutes before two tries from Day and one from Connor Jones put the hosts out of sight.
Ryan Ince scored Oldham's first try of the afternoon before Blackmore crossed for his second four minutes before the interval.
Nu Brown claimed a try six minutes into the second half before Dean Parata scored a brace within seven minutes. Davies and Jacob Doyle rounded off the scoring, dotting down either side of a try from Oldham's Matthew Fletcher.
Featherstone Rovers: Hall, Blackmore, Hardcastle, Welham, Gale, Chisholm, Holmes, Harrison, Jones, Kopczak, Halton, Day, Lockwood. Subs: Brown, Davies, Bussey, Cooper, Field, Parata, Sweeting, Ferguson, Sheriff, Beckett, McConnell, Doyle, Spence, Whitton.
Oldham: Abram, Hartley, Ince, Roberts, Brierley, Hewitt, Charnock, Kirk, Owen, Joy, Langtree, Bent, Reilly. Subs: Heaton, Nelmes, Dupree, Fletcher, Sheriffe, Green, Bridge, Barran, Holcroft, Gregory.
Referee: L Moore