WOOLSTON Rovers bounced back to winning ways with a hard-fought 18-12 victory over Saddleworth Rangers in National Conference League Division Two at Shaw Hall Bank Road in Oldham on Saturday.

They came from behind to achieve their success, with Alex Pendlebury (29 mins), Dan Fearnley (38), Sam Vernon (46) and Scott Whiteley (58) crossing for crucial tries.

After the game, Rovers head of rugby Mal Holt said: “It was great to get back to winning ways on our travels; it is always a difficult place to go with a hostile and intimidating atmosphere but our players, staff and supporters were able to quieten that early doors.

"It was another tough, physical and aggressive game similar to last week but the difference being we came away with the two league points.

"Once we got to grips with the way Saddleworth had set up then it was just a matter of being patient and tough in defence and let our rugby do the talking.

"We scored four tries but only converted one of them so that is an area we need to work on but on the whole a very good all-round team performance with a few more gears to go through yet.”

Saddleworth opened the scoring in the second minute with a try from full-back Rob Charles.

Stand-off Matt Whitehead converted but then with defences on top it took until almost the half-hour mark for any further scoring and that came via a try for Rovers winger Pendlebury.

Rangers moved into a ‘two score’ advantage with a try from loose-forward Billy England that Whitehead converted but then two minutes before the break Rovers centre Fearnley crossed wide out to make the half-time score 12-8 to Saddleworth.

Rovers were temporarily reduced to 12 men five minutes into the second half when substitute Sean Boyle was sin-binned for a trip but within a minute of him leaving the field Rovers actually pulled level with a try from second-row Vernon.

Just before the hour mark Rovers second-row Scott Whiteley scored a superb try to put his side ahead for the first time. Full-back Ben Dixon took over goalkicking duties and duly landed the conversion.

Saddleworth had centre Josh Brown sent off for a punch six minutes later and Rovers were able to control the final moments to claim a deserved win.

The man of the match was awarded to Rovers stand-off Ryan Brown, with second-row Scott Whiteley and substitute Sean Boyle also standing out.

Rovers: Ben Dixon; Tom Byrne, Dan Fearnley, Wil Roberts, Alex Pendlebury; Ryan Brown, Dec Leonard; Ryan Palin, Adam Files, Ryan Hickman, Sam Vernon, Scott Whiteley, Harry Files. Subs: Sam Roberts, Andy Addison, Matt Taylor, Sean Boyle.