HARRY Files was the hat-trick hero as Woolston Rovers started life in National Conference League Division One with a thrilling 20-16 victory over Oulton Raiders.

The visitors, who were play-off finalists last year, led 10-0 in the first half and 16-10 early in the second period but promoted Green and Golds showed their mettle in a game played in awful conditions at Monk Sports Club.

It was 10 minutes from time that Woolston grabbed the lead for the first time through loose-forward Files’ third try and it proved decisive on a day when man-of-the-match hooker Ryan Brown, second-rower Dan Fearnley and scrum-half Dec Leonard showed up well.

After the game Rovers coach Liam Lawton said: “That was a fantastic start to the season for us and one that will hopefully give us plenty of confidence moving forward.

“Oulton will be one of the favourites to win this league so for us to get a win over them in our first game in this division is really good.

“The conditions made handling very difficult and we did make a few more mistakes than we would have liked but the effort and togetherness of the side spoke volumes and it gives us a great platform to work with.”

Oulton were 10-0 ahead inside 14 minutes but just before the half hour Rovers got themselves back into the game when Files crossed for his first try.

Six minutes into the second half Files went over again and Ben Dixon converted to level matters.

Shortly before the hour mark Oulton went back in front courtesy of a second try from Matthew Stableford, with Kieran Walpole adding his second conversion.

Five minutes later Rovers hit back once again with a converted try from winger Alex Pendlebury, with Dixon’s goal tying up the scores once more.

That set the scene for Files to have the final say.

Woolston: James Tarpey, Kieran Jones, Tom Byrne, Ben Dixon, Alex Pendlebury, Joe Roper, Dec Leonard, Ben Crewe, Ryan Brown, Ryan Hickman, Jackson Phillips, Dan Fearnley, Harry Files. Subs: Sean Kelly, Ethan Jones, Lewis Dawson, Mitchell Clynes.