Oldham 3rds had a local derby this weekend with long standing rivals Aldwinians.
Oldham came to the game with winning form behind them, having had a cup win and a league win in the past two games. So Oldham were hoping to continue the successful run with a first away league win. Conditions in the days leading up to the game had been very wet, so Oldham were hoping that a boggy pitch may favour their gritty forwards game. Oldham turned up with a full side on the day although with no replacements, so Oldham started with the determination to come away with a result. This was an early return visit, and the previous game at home had been a closely fought match.
In the first half, it soon became clear that Oldham's pack were causing problems for the opposition. Aldwinians were going backwards in every scrum, and Oldham's superior weight, drive and experience put them under pressure every time. However Aldwinians' backs were fast and agile, and within the first ten minutes they had used their fast runners and sent the ball out wide to put their first try on the board. This was a blow for Oldham after making a strong start, but Oldham knew what they needed to do to break the opposition defence. For much of the rest of the half the game was close, although Aldwinians did score their second try after half an hour. For the last ten minutes of the half however, Oldham played their own game with constant pressure and forward drive, using the forwards to gain small yards over and over, frustrating Aldwinians. After a number of attempts at the Aldwinians' try line, eventually a huge Oldham drive took Alan Pierre over the line to score Oldham's first try.
In the second half, Oldham continued to show their strength, and it wasn't long before Oldham's hard work to gain good position in Aldwinians' twenty two paid off. Oldham had a scrum which drove forward, and Paul Blomfield picked up the ball off the back and spotted a gap on the blind side; he beat the Aldwinians' winger and scored Oldham's second try. After a few more minutes, Mark Bradbury had a great weaving run from a similar position on the field to touch down for Oldham's third. Oldham's final try came from a maul on the right side, ten metres from the Aldwinians line. Mark Bradbury was held up in a tackle and Bob Webster and Nick Middleton drove in to support. Bob took the ball in the drive, and the final momentum was provided by Alan Pierre who hit the back of the maul hard to take it over the line for Bob Webster to touch down.
Oldham had showed superbly well to this point in the second half, but from then Aldwinians' youth and fitness began to show as Oldham tired. Aldwinians had a run of numerous tries in the last twenty minutes of the game, running away from Oldham on the scoreboard. The final score was 40-20. The game had been well fought by both sides, and not helped by a Referee who repeatedly broke up the flow of the game and gave the lion's share of the decisions to Aldwinians. Oldham had shown a great team spirit and supported each other on the field, and the overall performance was one to be proud of.
Final Score: Aldwinians 3rds 40 v Oldham 3rds 20
Man of the match went to Mark Bradbury for consistent quality throughout and a great try.