Oldham approached the first league game of the season with a degree of confidence on the back of a solid performance last week against a loaded North Manchester side. Numbers were looking good during the week although five late cry-offs made the situation look like Oldham may just about make the full team, and the pressure was on. However on the day there was a decent squad of eighteen. Conditions looked like they were going to be awful as the weather rained all day on the Friday, and then really heavily on the Saturday. But the pitches at Bury were superb, and the rain stopped after the first ten minutes of the game.
From the kick off, the game was an evenly matched tug of war, played for much of the time between the two ten metre lines. Bury had superior speed in the backs, but Oldham had the better pack, especially in the set pieces where Oldham repeatedly won the opponent’s ball at the line out and scrum. Oldham could have played more variety off the scrum, with the large majority of ball being picked up and run round the short side. Also, Bury were quickest to the breakdown, putting pressure on Oldham’s possession and regularly turning the ball over. Eventually Bury had a breakthrough and scored the first try, converting it to go 7-0 up. There was no further score in the first half, and at half time Oldham felt that with some attention to a couple of areas of their play, they could win the game.
In the second half, Oldham began positively and got themselves in a strong position in the Bury twenty two, and after two minutes Greg Higgins broke through the defence to score a try for Oldham. Oldham were right in the game, and were putting together some good attacking play. Unfortunately on of the Bury backs made a tackle on Matt Burgess early in the half, and suffered a serious leg injury in the process, meaning that an ambulance had to be called to the pitch. Oldham wish the player all the best for a swift recovery. The play had to move to the first team pitch, and Oldham continued where they left off. The game was still close, but Oldham had the upper hand, and three penalties from Chris Brown, with a reply of only one penalty from Bury gave Oldham an excellent victory to start off their league campaign with a final score of 10 – 14.
Man of the Match went to Greg Higgins who put in a great shift both in attack and defence.