Oldham 3rds were back at home at the weekend after two weekends away in Didsbury. After a season in Division 5 East, Oldham are on the verge of sealing promotion due to being second in the table and three points ahead of Rochdale with three to play, so a win in the Bury game could make it a virtual certainty if Rochdale lost on the same day. Weather on the day was excellent with the first warm and sunny Spring Saturday of the season, although due to three games being played at home concurrently, the 3rds were on the back pitch which was wet, muddy and very heavy over most of the pitch.
The game was slow from kick off with the heavy conditions meaning both teams were going to have to grind out the game in the pack with quick feet in the backs not featuring a great deal. Handling was also difficult, and both sides were making numerous handling errors; fluent rugby was difficult and the game was scrappy for much of the first half. Oldham’s pack worked hard to secure possession and territory, but Bury with the first to produce a proper scoring opportunity when they scored a try in the left hand corner after fifteen minutes. The Referee initially awarded the try, and then changed his mind when the touch judge pointed out that there had been a foot in touch prior to the try being scored. Oldham found themselves on the back foot for much of the half, but kicking for touch out of the twenty two from Rhys Jones and Craig Gedey helped to relieve some of the pressure. It was good game management through the boot which gave Oldham the territorial position after twenty minutes from which Rhys Jones ran through to score Oldham’s only try of the game, which he also converted. Oldham went in at half time seven points in the lead.
In the second half, there was little to separate the sides, although Bury probably had a possession advantage overall. Bury scored a try off a quick tapped penalty ten minutes into the half, catching the Oldham defence off guard, and converting the try to even the score. This is how the game finished, and a draw was a fair result.
Man of the Match went to Nathan Bardsley for his quality and consistency of tackling.