Oldham 3rds were back at home this weekend, and with the 1st and 2nd teams away, the 3rds were on the big pitch facing Sale. Earlier in the day, there were doubts as to whether the match would be played due to heavy snow overnight and on the day, but the pitch was unaffected and playable, so the game went ahead as planned. Sale turned up with twelve players, which meant under the League rules that Oldham could only go out with thirteen, meaning an even more challenging game on the big pitch.
Both sides were keen to get the match underway, as snow was falling and players were working to stay warm approaching the start. When the game started, Oldham showed promise. For the first fifteen minutes, the game was even, and Oldham were both making their mark in the forwards, and also using their backs across the width of the field to advance well into Sale territory. The first try however was to come from Sale after a period of sustained pressure. However Oldham soon replied, when after a number of phases involving both forwards and backs, Oldham set up a maul ten yards from the Sale line and steadily drove the opposition back over the line, with the ball finally being touched down by Phil Walmsley.
With their first try on the board, Oldham played well and had other try scoring opportunities in the first half, but with the final pass not going to hand these were not taken. Sale however did score further tries in the half, and had a clear lead at half time.
In the second half, Sale maintained the upper hand on the scoreboard, but Oldham played a solid game throughout. Oldham had the best scrum, maintaining their own ball while gaining yards, and also frustrating Sale on the opposition put in. Oldham's first try of the second half came from Lee Whitehead, who received the ball near the half way line and sprinted down the right wing, beating Sale backs for pace, and scored under the posts. This was converted by Chris Brown. The next try came after scrappy but determined Oldham possession over a number of phases close to Sale's line and finally carried over by Nick McDowell, and the final try was scored off the back of a maul by Cameron Wood.
Final score: Oldham 22 v Sale 52
The result showed that Sale had the better quality and speed in their backs, regularly breaking through Oldham's defence to notch up a good tally of tries. However Oldham were proud of their performance and had worked hard throughout. There were a number of contenders for Man of the Match, including Chris Brown in the centres who had a good game, and also Matt Finn on his first game back after being out with an injury. However the title this week went to Phil Walmsley who as always tackled fiercely, won ball and gained territory for Oldham.