OLDHAM RUFC 40, ECCLES 12
JOSH Watson scored a hat-trick of tries as Oldham RUFC defeated Eccles handsomely in their final home game of the season in the ADM Premier Division.
The performance in the basement battle mirrored the steady improvement in the last month as Oldham banished any lingering threat of relegation.
The win lifted them from 10th to eighth place in the 12-strong division with coach Jimmy Forster saying the win was needed not only for the league position but also the players’ belief as they had forgotten how to win.
Oldham started slowly giving Eccles possession and territory and after 10 minutes an extra man as Tom Hannon was sin binned for a late block from a kick.
Oldham, to be fair, were resolute in defence and managed to not concede during the 10 minutes when they were a man down.
They went ahead from a superb pass from Tom Davies as Watson ran the best of lines and cut through the Eccles defence to score. Alex Jobson converted to make it 7-0.
Oldham were playing some of the best rugby they had played all season but still continued to give penalties away for indiscipline and unfortunately berating the referee.
Lewis Townsend hit a superb 50-22 kick which led to Oldham turning a scrum over and gaining a penalty at which point Louis Fitton went quick finding Watson who barrelled over for another try. Jobson again converted, and Oldham were 14-0 ahead.
Oldham switched off for the final three minutes of the first half not covering a kick from Eccles which allowed their full back to re-gather and score under the posts to make it 14-7 at half time.
Oldham’s third try came as Ryan Pickles picked up and went blind side taking several defenders with him before passing a lovely inside ball to the skipper Jack Taylor who showed some decent pace to beat the covering backs to fly over. Jobson added the extras to make it 21-7.
Oldham then fell foul of indiscipline again with Fitton tapping the ball out of the Eccles scrum half’s hands and was given 10-minute in the sin bin. However, from an Eccles scrum that followed, their backline dropped the ball on the Oldham 22 and Davies kicked through and Jobson beat the Eccles backline with express pace to re-gather the ball on the Eccles 22 to score. He added the extras to make it 28-7.
Eccles answered back with some decent hands to score in the corner following a catch and drive at the lineout and reduce the deficit to 28-12.
Oldham then took the final stranglehold on the game with their next try coming from a penalty on the Eccles 22.
A Jordan McEwan quick tap to Adam Walker who ran out wide making a great pass to Alex Kurkiewicz who went over. Jobson scored the extras to make it 35-12.
Following another searing break from Pickles, Oldham nearly scored a nice 80-yard try however came up short on the goal line.
The final try followed a mighty scrum pushed Eccles back to turn the ball over and win a penalty. Oldham decided to scrum with Watson fancying the blind side mismatch against the Eccles winger and from the scrum he received the pass for his hat trick neatly stepping to score in the corner. Jobson missed the conversion to make it 40-12 after a great team performance with Watson man of the match.
Forster was not all happy with the penalty count conceded but allowed himself a small little grin at the final whistle.
Oldham complete their league programme at resurgent Fleetwood on Saturday, April 9.