This week’s game was all about having numbers and at the start of the week it was looking as if Oldham’s 3rd team sheet was a little light on numbers due to players either going to the international at HQ , working , visiting their mothers far afield or stepping up to the 2nds. This had reversed itself by the end of the week as those players who had been asked to step up to the 2nds were now back to the 3rds which meant 4 players had stepped back into the fold which was good work from 2nds team captain Matt Finn.
An early kick off time of 2.30 pm had been asked for due to the international by Oldham and good communication with Ben Dougal stand in captain for Old Bedians had been agreed for this. Brian smith doing his bit organizing the referee from Lancaster being on time for the 2.30 ko. All systems go for what would be an interesting game which was slightly delayed from the Old Bedians side as they only had eleven players at 2.30pm. However local side Broughton Park stepped up to the mark lending Old Bedians 4 players which were sent due to their game against Littleborough 3rds being cancelled. This obviously strengthened the hand of the local side due to the players being lent playing in a higher league.
Game on for Oldham and it was obvious from the start Oldham were up against a hard-tackling younger side which wouldn’t take a step back. This frustrated the Oldham side as no set pattern was established other than lineout ball was very secure but open play and the breakdown was a lottery. This meant that no one side could get advantage although the Oldham side did have quite a few runs down the blind side with David Ashton showing his pace but it was obvious Oldham were lucky to retain players on the field due to the number of infringements taking place. This however didn’t last long as a player from both Oldham and Old Bedians were yellow carded some 10 and 5 minutes from the end of the half.
The breakthrough came in the last 5 minutes when a penalty was kicked deep 10 meters from the try line off the Old Bedians at which once again the no 2 jumper Mike Green took the ball and a drive to the line was on. The maul didn’t quite get there as a gap on the inside saw David Ashton from the wing come off the shoulder of scrum half Blomfield to touch down. The conversion following just being wide.
Half time meant the Oldham side lads could re-group and carry out a game plan of slowing the game up and making sure the ball was presented in all phases. This worked well and Old Bedians couldn’t control the ball or handle the Oldham forwards at the maul. The next try was a 30 meter rolling maul which the Old Bedians collapsed 2 meters from the line. Penalty try given by the referee but as the rule goes possession is nine tenths of the law so the players are giving the try to Chris Davies as he was in control of the ball when the collapsed maul occurred which was a great reward for the forwards. 2 points conversion were given by the referee under the new ruling.
The last try some 5 minutes from the end was a real team effort with forwards and backs being orchestrated through Chris Gill making inroads on the Old Bedians line. After some 10 phases of play the ball was presented to scrum half Paul Blomfield to scamper over the line to score to record his first try of the season. The conversion by Rhys Jones was converted to make the 19-O victory look on paper to be a comfortable win but this was all about the second half performance and a great team effort.
Man of the Match was Keith Chadwick for his effort around the field and his promise to keep his mouth shut for next week!