Oldham 3rds have had a great start to the season and are lying second in the table having only lost one game so far. So the trip away to Didsbury at the weekend to face Didsbury 4ths who have only played two fixtures so far and lost both presented a good opportunity for Oldham to take another victory and to keep their points tally ticking over. Unsurprisingly for an away game, the team was struggling to make the numbers, down to fourteen at one point on the Saturday morning. This wasn’t helped by the fact that the seconds were also travelling, Vale of Lune in their case, and taking players from the thirds late in the day. However, Oldham managed to get sixteen to travel to Didsbury which was good under the circumstances. Conditions on the day were looking grey and damp in the morning, but the sunshine came out in the afternoon, meaning a really warm game on a firm surface.
Didsbury kicked off, and a fumbled receive in the Oldham pack put them on the back foot having to defend a scrum one minute into the game. Didsbury retained possession, and within a further two minutes had run their first try in. This served to wake Oldham up, although it started to become clear this wasn’t going to be a straightforward game. Didsbury not only had good squad numbers, but had plenty of young players with good speed and some big runner who were going to test Oldham’s defence. Once Oldham settled into the game, they played some good rugby, especially when keeping the ball tight in the centre of the field, using Phil Walmsley to put in strong runs from inside centre and always making yards, and also using centres to switch back inside use the full strength of the pack in the contact area. Didsbury scored their second try, but twenty-five minutes in Jon Maslen spotted a gap and put in a great run from just outside the Didsbury twenty-two to score Oldham’s first try. Paul Blomfield converted and Oldham were shwoign they could stay with the lively Didsbury squad. The half time score was two tries to one to Didsbury, but Oldham were still very much in the game.
In the second half, Didsbury once again had a couple of early scores to put Oldham on the back foot, and also brought on fresh legs with extra speed which were going to stretch the older Oldham team. Oldham also suffered with injuries, being down to thirteen players on the field at one point. Didsbury sportingly lent Oldham two players which was appreciated, and which was within the good spirit of the fixture. Oldham dug in and competed well. The pack were superb, never letting up in the scrum, and reliable in the lineouts. Eventually Oldham were rewarded with a second try, following a powerful drive from Matt Burgess the ball was recycled and John Charlton forced his way over for the score. Didsbury clocked up a further number of tries, out running Oldham with their superior speed. But overall it was a great game and all Oldham players put in a great effort.
Final Score: Didsbury TocH 4ths vs Oldham 3rds
Man of the Match was Jon Maslen and Dick of the Day went to Jack Cavanagh for his pantomime performance under a high ball.