This week saw the inform 3rd team take on Rochdale 4th team in the first round of the cup. With the team not being as strong as previous weeks the management thought it was still strong enough to defeat Rochdale. Only a few weeks ago Oldham made the short travel to Rochdale for a league game and came away with the glory. The weather conditions didn’t help either side and was slippy under foot.
The game started and with Captain Martin Meggison on the touchline after having a bug the previous few days. Stand in Captain Sean Barratt lead the team forward. In previous weeks the Oldham pack being light and nimble had been bullied in the scrum but this week after some extra training they seemed more settled and wiser. Oldham were the first team to score after Barratt broke from the back of a scrum beating 2 tacklers then pass to supporting Michael France to pass yet more would be tacklers only to be brought down 10 meters short of the try line. With some quick thinking Oldhams Phil Walmsley immediately picked the ball and crossed the line to put the first points on the board. With Meggison not playing, full back Lee Whitehead stepped up and slotted the conversion. Oldham seemed to be getting into their stride but with the conditions getting worse errors started to appear and it soon became a kicking game with each team trying to use the swirling wind to their advantage. After Rochdale had kicked the ball down field Whitehead decided to go on a run from inside his own 22 with his blistering pace went round the centre and winger only with the fullback to beat. Lee chipped through and scored in the corner to increase the lead. The conversion was just too much with the wind and went just wide.
At half time Oldham where in the lead with Rochdale only scoring 2 penalties. Only one change was made and Oldham where fired up to be the first to cross the line again. This did happen after Michael Grimes bounced through 4 players taking 3 of them with him to cross the try line only for the referee to disallow the try by saying he was held up. This seemed to be the turning point as Rochdale took full advantage and started using their forwards which were much bigger than the Oldham forwards and drive over to score but missing the extras.
From the kick off Rochdale scored again and cracks seemed to appear in what’s usually a solid defensive line. The game was neck and neck with both sides wanting to score at every opportunity. Oldham centre Martin Kenny finally found his footing and was able to score for Oldham to give them back the lead. With both goal kickers off the field Anthony Beswick stood up to convert only for the wind to pick up again just as he struck the ball carrying it wide. With only 10 mins remaining Rochdale went all out to bring them back into the game. Some silly penalties from Oldham allowed Rochdale to cross over for an easy try which they didn’t convert. This was a proper cup tie and could have gone either way but the spoils went to Rochdale with a last minute try in the corner to win the game.
Final score Oldham 3rds 17 – Rochdale 4ths 28
A tired and depleted Oldham side where beaten by a better team on the day. Man of the match has to go to 2 players Michael Grimes and Sean Barratt for their fantastic team spirit.