OLDHAM RUFC 5, WIGAN 0
OLDHAM RUFC ended an eight-match losing run with what could turn out to be a vital victory in their battle to avoid relegation from the ADM Premier Division.
With Burnley well adrift at the foot of the table, Oldham are one of four clubs in danger of being the second team to be demoted.
And the win against second-bottom Wigan opened up a seven-point cushion between the two sides.
It was also the day of the old boys’ reunion and the sausage tasting competition with more than 120 people attending.
There was one minute’s applause before kick-off in memory of all those lost in the past year.
Oldham had almost everyone available and coach Jimmy Forster had the luxury of being able to leave out players for the first time this season.
Oldham started well and took control early on with territory and possession. A lineout on the Wigan five-metre line brought Oldham’s pack together and after a good catch from Ryan Pickles, Oldham drove forward and Jordan McEwan scored. The conversion was missed and Oldham were 5-0 ahead.
The rest of the first half was a case of Oldham having territorial advantage but not quite being calm or smart enough to grind out any further advantage.
The wet conditions meant that the pitch was cutting up badly and you could see the heat rising from the groundsman Alan Hollingsworth’s head.
Forster asked for calm and control at half time and for Oldham to believe in going through the phases and their processes. To say that the second half was an arm wrestle would be an understatement.
Captain Jack Taylor, as so many other times this season, led from the front putting his body on the line. Having made some changes and the scrums being uncontested it took some sting out of the game and both sides failed to take full control. Oldham thought they had scored when Adam Walker went over but the referee didn’t see a grounding.
Wigan struggled to get into the Oldham 22 during the game and there was only a handful of times this happened. There was no further score in the match which was decided by McEwan’s early touchdown.
Not a match of the year contender for sure but what was evident was the Oldham defence stood firm in poor conditions. The first shut out of the season in the most important game shows the grit and determination that the team displays every week. Taylor was named man of the match for an outstanding defensive performance.
“If you would have given us that score line at the start of the day, we would have taken it. However, we felt we were much better than the end scoreline,” explained Forster.
- Oldham’s Corey Kelly represented Lancashire Undwe-16s in a 17-15 victory against Cheshire.