OLDHAM RUFC 34, LIVERPOOL COLLEGIATE 29
OLDHAM RUFC edged a high-scoring ADM Premiership fixture against Liverpool Collegiate at Manor Park where they almost threw away victory after a dramatic late collapse.
Following the previous week’s 15-5 loss at Liverpool St Helens, Oldham displayed character as they returned to winning ways against a Collegiate side which had gained a notable victory over Aldwinians in their last match.
There was one minute’s silence before the game in memory of long-time supporter Donny McEwan who died suddenly last week.
Oldham took the lead through a Ryan Pickles try following a catch and drive from a lineout.
However, they were immediately pegged back when a clearance was charged down, and the visitors made it 5-5.
Oldham were then reduced to 14 players when Martin Meggison was sin-binned for 10 minutes but these setbacks galvanised the hosts who regained the lead through a Stuart Brennan try following a drive from the forwards.
They added further tries from Rhys Jones and Louis Fitton, the latter converted by Jordan McEwan as they established a 22-5 half-time lead.
Collegiate had also lost two prop forwards to injuries which required visits to the Royal Oldham Hospital.
The complexion of the game changed in the second half as the uncontested scrums allowed Collegiate to field a more mobile pack whereas Oldham retained a traditional front five.
Collegiate’s more expansive game saw them reduce the deficit to 22-10 with a score in the right-hand corner.
However, Oldham had soon regained a healthy 34-10 advantage through tries from Brennan and Fitton, each with their second of the match.
Brennan charged down a clearance and won the chase to the line and Fitton ended an excellent attack move with the try of the match which was converted by McEwan.
If Oldham thought it was job done, they were mistaken as Collegiate staged a stirring fightback after
Meggison was dismissed for a second yellow card leaving them to face the final 20 minutes with 14 men and tiring bodies.
Oldham lost discipline structure and organisation while Collegiate gained belief and confidence. They scored three tries and one conversion to make the score 34-29 with four minutes remaining and it seemed to all the world that they would snatch the most unlikely of victories.
But somehow Oldham managed to recover the ball and were able to close the game out.
For Oldham, the first hour was impressive when they scored six tries and they looked well organised and disciplined with a clear game plan before ‘losing the plot completely’ during the last 20 minutes as one club official pointed out.
Oldham hit the road on Saturday for a cup match at Wigan.