On a miserable 'summers' day Panthers under 10's made their way to Oldham St Anne's, with the rain coming in at 45 degrees and mist surrounding the pitch it wasn't the most welcoming of mornings but the boys (and girl) came out of the changing rooms ready to go for their last Sunday game before the summer break
The conditions did improve at kick off time as St Anne's started the match with a deep kick off. Both teams had strong squads and it was needed on a big pitch plus an early injury to Tommy Carr
resulted in some early changes having to be made. St Anne's showed great speed off the line and closed down Panther's who struggled to break through, eventually Thomas Williams
saw a gap and switched to the blind side to go over half the length of the field to score under the posts. Confidence grew and the hard training in the last few weeks was coming together in defence, the forwards worked hard with Joe Hackett
leading the pack with some strong running closely followed by the rest of the forwards.
St Anne's struck back with a try but with almost a repeat of his first try Thomas Williams
broke through again, St Anne's chased hard but just could quite catch him and he went in for his second try, Charlie Mitchinson
followed up with a successful conversion. Right on half time it looked like St Anne's were going to draw level but great cover defence prevented a certain score. Half Time Panther 12 St Anne's 6
The second half was very close, St Anne's defended their line well and after some great pressure from Panthers they broke away to go the length of the field to bring the scores level. Panthers looked like they had gone back into the lead when Charlie Mitchinson
picked up a loose ball and raced 30 metre to score only for play to be brought back for an earlier knock on by St Anne's. It was now anyone's game, the players tired and we picked up a couple of injuries but continued to show great effort with Thomas Greenhalgh earning his award with numerous hard hitting tackles on boys well above his size and weight.
Eventually St Anne's breached the Panthers defence, desperate cover defence claimed to have held up the St Anne's attacker on the line but the referee was on the spot and awarded the try. The conversion was successful making the score 18-12 in St Anne's favour. Panthers showed great team spirit and determination to get up field but just couldn't capitalise on the opportunities and some great kick defence under pressure. In the last few minutes Thomas Williams
looked like he might break for his hat trick but great cover defence stopped him in full flight and that was to be the last chance.
The final score ended in an 18-12 defeat for Panthers but they can hold their heads high having taken part in a highly entertaining and competitive match in challenging conditions.