ORUFC 1st XV v Trafford MV 1st XV
Solid Oldham grind it out
OLDHAM’S first string gave a much-improved display to beat a Trafford team reliant on goalkicker Ben Wheeler.
The home side’s defence was so strong that Trafford’s only points in this North Lancashire Division One fixture came from three Wheeler penalties.
Oldham’s forwards controlled the scrum, winning their own ball and taking two against the head when pushing the opposition off the ball.
The pack included replacements, but that did not make any difference as they played as a unit and with great discipline.
With an almost gale-force wind behind them, Oldham took command in the first half and went ahead with a Josh Brown try after 15 minutes.
The ball went through many hands before Jordan McEwan put Brown into a gap for a try he converted.
Oldham piled on the pressure, but could not pierce a stubborn Trafford defence and the first half ended at 7-0 for the Manor Park men.
Several pundits thought, with the wind against Oldham after the break, that this slender lead would not be enough.
And when Wheeler was successful with two penalties in the first 20 minutes of the second half, those fears looked likely to be confirmed.
But Oldham did not panic and regained control with a second try.
The forwards started the move by taking the ball up to halfway before John Souter burst through the defensive line. He switched the ball inside to Steve Hastings, who fed Gareth Barber to score a try converted by Brown.
With 10 minutes remaining, the visitors needed two scores to win, but could only manage another penalty to make it 9-14 at the final whistle.
This was a fine display by Oldham, who travel to Tarleton next Saturday.