Oldham 3rds travelled away to Sale this weekend for a return match against Village Spartans. Oldham beat them at home earlier in the season, and travelled with a strong squad so approached the match with confidence. Conditions on the day were good, even though other matches in the region were being postponed. The pitch was in good condition, soft but very playable.
Oldham looked the stronger team from the start. Spartans were on the back foot immediately, defending with vigour, but after seven minutes Chris Gill sneaked through the defence inside Spartan’s twenty two with a well worked dummy pass move to score Oldham’s first try. Spartans struggled to come back, and fourteen minutes into the half Stuart Brennan scored Oldham’s second, with Matt Finn scoring the third try after twenty minutes. Spartans played with the ball well, but were unable to match Oldham in the pack, meaning they were constantly under pressure in the tackle area. Their front row had been declared inexperienced before the start of the game, and half way through the first half Spartans indicated they needed to go uncontested for safety reasons. This didn’t have a major impact on the game due to Oldham being superior from the outset. However once three tries in front, Oldham lost focus, and the attention to basics went awry. After thirty minutes Spartans capitalised on this with the interception of a loose pass, running in for Spartans’ first try which they also converted.
Half time score: Village Spartans 2nds 7 v Oldham 3rds 15.
Oldham had a full bench, but a number of injuries in the first half meant they were all used at half time. From the start of the second half, Oldham got their act together again. They looked after their possession well and gained territory efficiently in the forwards, spinning the ball out in the backs to stretch Spartans to the limits, resulting in a feast of tries from Oldham. In total, a further six tries were scored in the second half, from Stuart Brennan (x2), Greg Higgins, Chris Brown, Luke Ferrier and Ainsley Brookes. Three of these were converted by Chris Brown. Spartans put up a good effort, and scored their second try after thirty two minutes.
Final Score: Village Spartans 2nds 12 v Oldham 3rds 51
All in all it was a good performance, leaving Oldham well clear at the top of the table pending some games in hand from other teams. Man of the Match went to Chris Gill for a great all round performance. Oldham now look forward to a good battle at home next week against Carrington
Report by Nick Middleton