It was always going to be a difficult physical encounter at the start of out two games in two days and so it proved. The last three games with Oldham have been decided by just a few points and this game continued with the trend. We had a bare 15 players at the kick off with some players saving themselves for the cup game on Sunday. As we arrived on the pitch I could see Oldham’s players confidence growing as they was no sign of Kegs, Anton or Matt C, or was it really that there was no sign of Franco. We did have two newish recruits JR playing his first game for the 5’S AND Ged “the feather” Stone playing only his second game of the season.
Oldham had there usual squad of well over 20 players. The game itself proved to be the noisiest game of the season not just from the touchline but also on the pitch which did not make it easy for David – our welsh ref (yes you did deserve to beat Ireland) we tend to be a team that generally just gets on with the game but unfortunately we let our standards slip especially in the first half. There was very few openings in the early part of the game with Oldham though there forwards returning the ball well and after 20 minutes they scored when they went blind from a ruck on the 22 and our ex player Paul Bloomfield beat our defence to score under the posts 0-7. We went back at Oldham but James Ellis
& Ben O’B were both held up short of the line. When Oldham got into our 22 again they scored through their forwards to make it 0-14. Then 10 minutes before half time we lost Barts to the sin bin and this seemed to fire us up. We were held up over the line and a good forward trundle led by Yonners & Bish ably supported by Geoff Bowling
, Steve Millington & Alex Heasel. JR by now was someway off the pace. Eventually the ball came from the forwards to JR who was loitering he passed to KOB long ball to Ben O’B who passed to James Ellis
who beat his man on the outside to reach over and score in the corner. Conversion fell under the crossbar 5-14.
At half time we had a long discussion about discipline and this was taken on board by everyone for the second half. Shack did not produce the hot ribena – if he did he kept it to himself to keep warm as unfortunately playing in the wing he was away from most of the action.
We started well in the second half and within five minutes from a penalty KOB to BOB to score under the posts 12-14.
With Jamie TS and Cesaire now coming in to the game we started to look more dangerous but then Deep Heat had to go off injured due to the “he had lost 2 stone” now 28 stone prop bending him in two and we are not sure but popping his sternum seems the outcome.
We then had to juggle around the players with Ben O’B to scrum half with Ged “the Feather” or JR appearing now in the centre. We came close to scoring in the left hand corner with the final pass from Jamie TS to James Ellis
going to ground. Oldham then got into our half and forced a penalty which they decided to go for goal only to hit the post and go dead. We then put them under pressure but their scrum half broke out after we dropped the ball fortunately. Jamie Ellis chased him back and caught hum just inside our 22 to save the day and a few minutes later to top it off he scored following a quick pass from Ged “the Feather” to KOB to that well known centre JR (would he dummy and go himself, Legs had gone so he passed) to James to score in the corner, conversion made 19-14
Back came Oldham and from forward pressure in our 22 they dropped the ball. Bish kicked it upfield Ben O’B takes it from their full back passes to Jamie TS and who should be on his shoulder but our prop Alex Heasel to run 30+ meters to score 26-14.
Oldham eventhough now beaten gave everything and with the last play of the game were awarded a penalty try for I think consistent interference in the maul & ruck. (I am sure David will put me right on this) 26-21. As the final whistle went and with Park players giving high sixes (told you I would get it in) one Oldham player I think his name is Snapper decided to let his feelings know to Bish. He is obviously a very popular player because not one Oldham player backed him up. Enough said.
So one job done, now onto the Sunday game. Good to see Jamie TS’s dad back on the touchline and Kami arriving at the end to support us and give us an update on his poorly son. One worrying comment came from our Referee who midway though the first half was getting fed up with the scrums collapsing and he actually said he would revert to incontested scrums. Fortunately Yonner gave him a quick word of advice not to do that as it may cause a riot. The game would have finished 10 minutes earlier if a certain person got to a line out quicker instead of walking from scrum to line out to lineout. Answers on a postcard please if you know who I mean..