Oldham 1st XV v Fleetwood 1st XV
By Oldham RUFC
Oldham in narrow loss against fast running Fleetwood
Way back at the beginning of the September Oldham started their season with an impressive 31-8 win away at Fleetwood and have had to wait to the very last game to see if they could ‘do the double ‘. The Manor Park side had made a few changes after the poor performance the previous week with Zak Booth coming in at hooker, Nick Hackman coming back from injury and Rob Froggatt who missed out because of work commitments.
With both teams mid table and seeming nothing to play for Oldham needed to beware as Fleetwood have spoiled their party in the past and were certainly looking to mar the end of term shenanigans this year.
From the kick off it was apparent Fleetwood’s game plane was to run the ball at every opportunity. Six minutes in good hands got Fleetwood into the Oldham 20 metre area and set up the maul. Fleetwood number 8 Scott Richardson was in possession last to claim the try. Gavin Powell added the goal for an early 7 - 0 lead. Then from the kick off the away side broke down Oldham’s left and only a try saving tackle by Charlie Roscoe kept the Oldham line in tacked. Fleetwood began to find a few holes in the Oldham defence and looked only a matter of time till they scored again. However though a series of last ditch Oldham tackling and Fleetwood giving away too many penalties Oldham kept them out until the nineteenth minute when Richardson powered over from close range. Powell again added the extras. On twenty five minutes Oldham made the changes, Hackman came on for Suitor, and Takila came on for Dean McEwan which meant Jordan McEwan went from scrum half to prop. Then on the half hour Oldham suffered a big blow when Ryan North came off with a badly injured ankle. Still Fleetwood pressed. Oldham’s defence held out till the half time whistle.
Halftime score Oldham 0 - 14 Fleetwood.
Time for Oldham to regroup. There were bits and pieces of Oldham’s play in the first half that suggested they were not out of this contest. Fleetwood’s defence had looked fairly solid but as players begin to tire anything can happen. Oldham just needed to stay in touch.
On forty six minutes Oldham got the new half off to the best possible start. A good passing move got Oldham within range of the Fleetwood line. The forwards set up a maul and forced their way over the line with Jordan McEwan claiming the try. Then more or less from the kick off Rob Somerwill made a break passed to Froggatt who surely had put Luke Roscoe in at the corner only for the referee to deem the pass was marginally forward. As the half progressed it looked like Oldham were making a game of it and were coming back strongly. Fifty five minutes gone and prop Bobby Cullen took his chance and dived over the line. Alex Jobson goaled and Oldham were on a roll only for the Fleetwood centre Brad Stapleton to break, race the length of the field and score. Powell added the goal. Oldham 12 - 21 Fleetwood. On sixty four minutes it looked all over for the home side when Fleetwood nearly scores again but Luke Roscoe somehow managed to force the attacker into touch. With seventy one minutes gone Richardson made another 70 metre break, he should have scored but he was chased all the way by Adam Takila who made, what surely must be, the tackle of the season. Oldham sensed the game was wide open now and Charlie Roscoe made a great break, passed to the supporting Stuart Brennan who returned a deft pass back to Roscoe who scored under the posts. Jobson added the goal points to make the score Oldham 19 - 21 Fleetwood. In the final few minutes Oldham threw everything at the Fleetwood defence and, in truth, had a couple of chances to snatch a win, should they have kicked one of the penalties they were awarded? Fleetwood hung on for a deserved win.
Final score: Oldham 19 v Fleetwood 21
On balance the better team won the day but Oldham showed a real tenacious character when they looked dead and buried at half time. They are a young side and still learning, who knows next season could be their year.