OLDHAM got their 2021 Betfred Championship campaign off to a flying start with a 28-20 win against Swinton Lions at Bower Fold.

They trailed 20-10 at half-time, but a superb performance down the slight slope in the second-half completely turned the game on its head and enabled Roughyeds to avenge their Challenge Cup defeat by the Lions only five days earlier.

Led superbly by skipper Gareth Owen, who had a brilliant game at stand-off, Roughyeds piled up 18 unanswered points after half-time, with centre Ben Heaton scoring twice.

They scored five tries in total by Max Roberts, Ryan Ince, Heaton (2) and Tyler Dupree with Dan Abram landing four goals from six attempts, three of them from wide out. Things went wrong from the start. Winger Tommy Brierley failed a late fitness test, so young Ben Holcroft made his senior debut on the right wing.

In the opening minutes link man Lewis Charnock took a nasty knock after releasing a pass and was taken off, never to return.

Matt Diskin reshaped his side by bringing on Dec Gregory at hooker and pushing skipper Owen out to stand-off, the position he used to play as a boy at Waterhead.

Trailing 14-10 after half an hour, they then suffered another stroke of ill luck when the Lions were awarded a penalty try after a speculative inside kick by Martyn Ridyard.

It was well covered by the retreating Oldham defence, but it hit an upright and bounced up into the hands of Lions scrum-half Jack Hansen.

The ball went loose as he was tackled on the line, but after consulting his touch judge, referee Cam Worsley ruled Oldham guilty of a high tackle and awarded the penalty try under the posts.

Ridyard’s easy conversion gave Lions a 10-point interval lead, but the visitors had no answer to Oldham’s rip-roaring second-half performance in which Owen, Heaton and Gregory were outstanding.