LUKE Adamson, Oldham’s in-form back-rower, says that outside the dressing room few will have grasped how much it meant to the Roughyeds’ players to win at Rochdale on Monday.
It was their first triumph in five derbies this year but, more importantly, it ended a run of six games without a win and it allowed Sammy Gee the luxury of leading a rendering of their victory song for only the second time since the end of April at Dewsbury.
By dragging Rochdale into a three-club battle for Championship survival and showing the draw at Batley was no one-off, it was also a win that gave Scott Naylor’s men belief in their credentials to scramble clear of the bottom two.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Naylor. “We seemed nervous at times. I was nervous too.
“But we got over the line and that will make a massive difference as we look forward to our remaining games against Toulouse, Swinton and Dewsbury.”
First up is the French side’s visit to Bower Fold on Sunday (3pm) when Roughyeds will aim to repeat their 14-12 win at the beginning of July.
Toulouse narrowly missed out on the top four, having lost a few games while their star half-backs Jon Ford and Stan Robin were njured, but they’ve done enough already in the Shield to finish top and earn themselves a semi-final on French soil in the play-off.
“They’re a good side,” said Adamson. “They throw the ball about and they attack you from all over the park, but we’ve beaten them once at Bower Fold and we can do it again.
“They haven’t a lot to play for either so that might also work in our favour. But the biggest single factor from our angle is how much we’ve grown in confidence and self-belief.
“Across the season we’ve lost a few games narrowly – games we could and should have won – but the draw at Batley and then the win at Rochdale gave all the lads a terrific boost.
“Things are buzzing again. We’ve had it tough with all the injuries, but the boys who came in have done a great job and we could soon have Adam Neal and Richard Lepori back as well.
“We are improving at the right time and with the support of our fans it will be great to get back to Bower Fold to see if we can build on what we achieved on our recent travels.
“There’s great camaraderie in the squad and that counts a lot when you’re up against it and you’re grafting hard for each other on defence for long periods, as we had to at Rochdale.
“We were our own worst enemies early in the second half, but we showed great character in defence and that will stand us in good stead when we’re called upon to work as hard in the Toulouse game, as we surely will be.
“On a personal note, I’m getting stronger and fitter after a hip operation at the end of last year and I like to think my form’s coming good at the right time.
“I’m enjoying life at Oldham and, like all the boys, I would love to see us stay in this division and see what that means to the supporters.”