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1st XV - Match centre

Oswestry
Congleton
Sat 24 Feb 14:15 - Northern Division - South Lancs & Cheshire Division 2 Full time

Oswestry 19 v 22 Congleton RFC 24th February 2018.

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Oswestry 19 v 22 Congleton RFC 24th February 2018.

Oswestry 19 v 22 Congleton RFC 24th February 2018.

Oswestry played host to Congleton who at the start of the day were just ahead of Oswestry in the league. The fixture was rearranged following a cancellation on the 9th December.

Oswestry took to the field in their green and black strip to avoid clashing with the Congleton colours. The conditions were good for rugby with sunshine for most of the match. The game kicked off slightly late at 2.25pm with Congleton kicking off towards Oswestry club house. Congleton quickly followed their kick putting pressure on the home team which forced a knock on with an early scrum being awarded to Congleton. It was obvious from the start that this match would be a very physical encounter with a fit looking Congleton team had several huge forwards who could run at pace. From the scrum Congleton ran at Oswestry and at the brake down after only a couple minutes of the match Deian Lloyd Hughes playing at flanker had to leave the field with a leg injury. Dan Smart came on to replace him. However Oswestry fought hard and managed to gain territory into the Congleton half and hovered around their 22 with good running attacks by Marco Bercich, Nick Clay and Tom Roberts who all tried to get towards the Congleton try line. This good passage of play was carried on by Jonathan Hughes, Guy Howell and Olly Wilford making his first appearance for Oswestry this season. Another debutant Danny Williams playing at Centre was throwing the ball out to his wings. After 10 minutes of hard tackles Congleton managed to break out of their half and push towards the Oswestry line forcing Oswestry to concede a penalty. From the subsequent line out in the Oswestry 22 Congleton managed to score a try. The kick was missed and the visitors lead by 5 points.
From the restart Congleton came back at Oswestry filled with confidence and after 5 minutes The Congleton big number 8 got the ball for half way and ran the entire Oswestry half to score their second try under the posts. The try was converted and after 15 minutes of play the visitors were 12 points up.
However although Congleton had the lead both teams were evenly matched but Oswestry needed to get back into the match. 21 minutes into the match Olly Wilford left the pitch to be treated by Lottie Beard who once again was kept busy with injuries. James Ellis replaced him. To the credit of the Oswestry team and Andrew Smith driving his men forward Oswestry were in the Congleton 22 where James Roberts started a move passing to Connor Blair then Tom Roberts and eventually Gareth Hughes who with his pace could not be stopped and scored a try in the corner. The kick was missed but Oswestry had lowered the deficit to only to 7 points.

The game continued to be played at pace and big hits from both teams. As the half was drawing to a close Tom Roberts suffered a big hit and subsequently had to leave the pitch to be replaced by Jamie Curtis. The referee added time on due to the injury delays and Oswestry were pressing Congleton in their half and were awarded a penalty. The referee told the teams that this would be the last play of the half. Oswestry through Danny Williams had line out ball just short of the visitors try line. Tudor Jones drove the ball on passing to Nick Clay who gave the ball to Marco Bercich who ran in to score his first try at the club. Danny Williams stepped up and converted the kick with the referee blew his whistle to end the half with both teams on `12 points.

Kevin Whitehead at half time spoke to his players as usual giving his team suitable advice in this tightly fought match.
Oswestry kicked the second half off and from the start Oswestry were keen to return to the Congleton half and try and brake the visitors defence line. After only 3 minutes Oswestry were in the Congleton 22 and from a strong run by Gareth Hughes passed the ball to Mike Davies who was strong and fast enough to push over the try line and score. Danny Williams stepped up to take the conversion kick which he did and for the first time Oswestry were 19 points to 12 in the lead.

Some 10 minutes later as both teams were trying to push holes in their respective defence Congleton were able to drive over a try under the Oswestry posts. The try was converted and both teams were on 19 points.

Although there were no more try’s the rest of the second half was a close affair with neither team being able to find gaps to score. The Oswestry team tried their hardest to brake the visiting teams defence and all players played their role. As the match was drawing to a close Congleton were awarded a penalty in injury time. The referee instructed both teams that this would be the last action before the end. Congleton opted to kick for goal and were able to convert the kick at the death with a 22 points to 19 victory over Oswestry.
There were many fine performances but man of the match was awarded to Olly Wilford for his fine performance.

Oswestry remain 10th in the league with a losing point moving to 41 points and next week Saturday 3rd of March 2018 Oswestry face a difficult challenge when they travel to Wigan area to play Aspull who are currently 4th in the league.

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League table

# Team Pl Pts
8. Congleton 26 67
9. Dukinfield 25 63
10. Oswestry 26 52
11. Port Sunlight 26 33
12. Marple 25 29
13. Vagabonds IOM 26 6
14. Oldershaw 25 3

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