Taylor keen for Ovenden to finish on a high

OVENDEN complete their 12-game programme in the shortened interim season tomorrow before the advent of summer rugby in the Conference.

The Four Fields men head to Rochdale Mayfield (2.30) and are keen to sign off until March 7 with a victory which is likely to see them finish runners-up in Group C to runaway winners Siddal.

The original plan for more than the group winners to go forward into knockout competitions has been scrapped as some clubs have struggled to raise teams.

“We want to sign off with a win and we are capable of doing that,” said Steve Taylor, who was in charge of the team at home to Saddleworth Rangers last Saturday, when Gareth Jones was on a coaching course.

Ovenden snapped a three-game losing run with a convincing 46-14 success six days ago, pulling clear in the second half once the penny had finally dropped about improving the side’s discipline.

The number of penalties Ovenden have conceded has been a thorn in their side for several weeks but Taylor said: “The message finally got through at half time. I don’t think we gave a penalty away after that and we scored something like 28 unanswered points.”

Taylor said Liam Walsh, one of the worst culprits, had turned from sinner to saint and been outstanding in the second half.

Taylor also praised the outstanding contributions of forwards Matt Turner and Tom Palmer, who he said had consistently been among the three players given man of the match marks by the opposition each week.

“We have come to expect that from Matt and Tom has matched him this season,” said Taylor. “Although Tom plays at prop he has been so good he has been playing all 80 minutes.”

Jones is likely to return at stand off tomorrow against foes Ovenden beat in the first meeting. That would mean Luke Sandland reverting to the pack.