TWO-TRY prop Phil Joy told it as it was. Speaking post-match at the Vestacare Stadium on Sunday, Oldham’s biggest forward shrugged off his gentle-giant image and revealed Roughyeds were warned how they would have to meet fire with fire and beef-up to match London’s big boys physically.

These Skolars are not the easy-beats they perhaps once were. They are big, mean and tough; some of them, like Iliess Macani, Omari Caro, Michael Bishay and Lamont Bryan, have been round the block and played with Bradford Bulls and London Broncos; and another five (maximum according to the rules) were brought in on loan or dual-registration from Super League outfits Wigan Warriors and the Broncos.

From Monday to Friday the Oldham-born ex-uni boy Joy has a posh suit-and-tie job in the city centre of Leeds but at weekends he rolls up his sleeves, gets dirty and grafts at the coal face of any rugby side – the front row,

His breed are not known for scoring tries. In theory, they are on a rugby pitch to battle with their opposing tough guys; to make the hard yards look like a Sunday afternoon stroll on the canal path and to take ownership of the rucks.

But this day was different for Joy from the moment, 15 minutes into the game, when he used his instinctive sense of anticipation to get on the inside of Adam Brook and Gareth Owen and take his hooker’s inside ball to crash over the Skolars’ line for the opening try of the game.

Having once sampled the delights of try-scoring he wanted more of the same and, sure enough, it came 12 minutes into the second half.

This time there was no better example of razor-sharp backing up than that displayed by a jubilant Joy, who tracked a fast-moving Matty Wilkinson on his inside to take the hooker’s defence-splitting final pass and gallop home like a prize bull on a charge; all 6ft 3in and 110 kilos of him going flat out unopposed with so much time at the end that he could stop over the line and plant the ball down with two hands. No wonder it won him the champagne-moment award.

“We knew they were a big lot. We had worked all week on stopping them when they had the ball and matching them on go-forward when we had it,” he said, sporting a cheeky grin that lit up the hospitality suite.

The man-of-the match award went to lethal left winger Lee Kershaw, who had done enough to earn the individual accolade before he spectacularly finished off in the corner two minutes from the end with his side’s sixth and final try.

A fully-deserving recipient had a huge game in attack and defence and club chairman Chris Hamilton enthused: “Two instances apart, his decision-making on and off the ball was first-class. He did plenty in possession, but it was what he did off the ball that really caught the eye.”

Ritchie Hawkyard and Adam Brook could also claim to be stand-out performers, the latter’s clever use of footwork and slick hands assisting in both Joy tries and the one scored by Kyran Johnson, who did well to get over in the corner on the half-back’s wide cut-out pass.

In the decisive battle of the forwards, or to be more precise the props, none did better than two-try Joy and his fellow starting prop Scott Law, who was making the 250th senior appearance of his career.

He celebrated the milestone with a strong display, gaining the hard yards impressively and leading the Oldham charge on several occasions, not least in the surge of power that put Skolars on the back foot and enabled Brook to capitalise with his money ball to Johnson nine minutes from time.

Credit Skolars with a desire to remain solid as a unit and to never throw in the towel.

In the half hour either side of half time, when Roughyeds led 12-0, Oldham’s fans must have been anxious for their favourites to score next, concluding if the Skolars got a sniff they might up their game to make it count.

They were still going for it at 18-0, but when Dave Hewitt landed a penalty after a high shot on Brook to take the home side’s lead to 20-0, it looked game, set and match, even though London’s solitary score was still to come.

In the event, Roughyeds scored three tries in the last 13 minutes, Lee Spencer crashing over after Owen’s flat pass from dummy half and then Johnson and Kershaw squeezing in by their respective corner flags to successfully complete a period of hugely impressive, expansive rugby.