Oldham 3rds had been starting to show some consistent promise over the past few games and were looking forward to their first win of the season. So this week's cup game against Ashton on Mersey was looking like a serious possibility for achieving just this. The 3rds had played Ashton on Mersey 2nds for the first game of the season, and it had been a close game, so this promised to be a good close game again. Although there were one or two regulars missing for this game, Oldham turned out with fourteen, as did Ashton on Mersey, so everything was looking even from the beginning.
Right from the first whistle it became clear that the game was going to be close and hard fought as expected. There was not much to pick between the two sides, although a few minutes in, Ashton Mersey broke through down the left and side though quick hands and good running in the backs and put an early try on the board. Oldham stayed positive though and attacked well, and it wasn't long before Oldham were pressurising Ashton in the Ashton half. Oldham were using a good balance of pack competition and ball in hand through the backs, and it wasn't long before Kieran Burrows broke through for Oldham's first try.
The Oldham pack was working hard, but scrums were tough as Ashton had a big strong pack and were pushing Oldham back repeatedly. However Oldham did well to retain ball on their put in. Ashton scored another two tries to open up their lead, but Oldham came back determined again. From the ten metre line in Ashton's half, Paul Blomfield took the ball from the back of a maul and dummied left before passing right to Nick Hackman, who fed the ball to Kev Golland, who charged through the Ashton Centres to touch down for Oldham's second try.
Half-time score: Ashton on Mersey 17 - 10 Oldham.
In the second half the match was still close, although for twenty minutes much of the play was in the Oldham half with Ashton exerting constant pressure, and eventually taking a maul over Oldham's try line for a touchdown. At 22-10 the score line was looking like the game was running away from Oldham, but on the pitch this was far from being the case. Oldham rallied their efforts and soon became the stronger side, camping in Ashton's half. From twenty yards out, Chris Brown held an Ashton player on his feet, and Wayne Hadfield stole the ball from him, totally surprising the Ashton defence as he sprinted through for a try, and this was converted by Chris Brown. Time was ticking on and Ashton defended vigorously to try to hang on to the game, but three minutes from the end Rhys Jones passed the ball from the back of a maul out to Paul Blomfield who sprinted down the right wing beating three Ashton players for speed, and scoring under the posts. Oldham just needed to convert the try to take the lead, and this was done by Chris Brown. Oldham held on for a fantastic win. The game had been played in a great spirit, and both teams were happy with the standard of the game.
Final Score: Ashton-on-Mersey 2nd 22 v Oldham 3rds 24
Man of the match went to Wayne Hadfield for a high work rate, great determination, and a good positive attitude throughout the game. Other players worth a mention include Jack Cavanagh who played at Hooker against a big and experienced front row, and held his own. Matt Finn joined the team for only his second game of rugby and showed some real promise, working hard for eighty minutes. Finally, Luke Ferrier as always played well at full back, and in the second half Luke went down badly on his arm after running with the ball and beating two Ashton players. Even though in much pain, Luke continued to the end of the game. It has since turned out that he has broken his forearm, and Luke should have a mention here for showing what a great team player he is with excellent commitment.