Oldham 3rds travelled to Rochdale at the weekend following a weekend off due to inclement weather. The weather was going to be anybody’s guess for this fixture, but it turned out well on the day and the pitch surface at Rochdale was good. Oldham had decent numbers in the squad, but on arrival it became clear that Rochdale were fielding a young and probably loaded side as they were out for their warm up half an hour before the game.
Oldham kicked off and within two minutes Rochdale had run back at them and scored their first try. This came from Oldham’s lack of organisation in defence, resulting in Rochdale having three men over down the left wing and an easy run in. A second try followed within another five minutes, and it was clear that Oldham needed to focus on retaining the ball and playing their own game where possible. Rochdale also had the upper hand in the scrum, putting pressure on Oldham’s set piece every time. Overall they were younger and quicker than Oldham, and this made the difference. However Oldham stuck at it, and after half an hour Alan Pierre scored Oldham’s first try; this came from a number of hard fought phases in the pack and the try was well deserved. Rochdale scored another, and it was three tries to one at the end of the first half.
In the second half, the two sides were more evenly matched, and Oldham had the benefit of two younger subs in the back in the form of Charlie Maslen and Jake Mulder. Rochdale scored another two tries, but Oldham were definitely in it and were able to frustrate Rochdale for much of the half, putting in big tackles and driving well in the mauls. Just before the end of the game Oldham had a penalty just inside Rochdale’s twenty two in the five meter channel. This was taken by Rhys Jones who opted to take a tap and then kicked it across field to Charlie Maslen on the left wing, who caught it under pressure and ran it in for Oldham’s second try. This superb move earned Rhys Jones and Charlie Maslen joint Man of the Match.