HEATON MOOR 22, OLDHAM RUFC 17
OLDHAM RUFC lost a game they would probably have won the previous week as they were punished for one minute’s madness in the ADM Lancashire and Cheshire 2 league defeat at top-of-the-table Heaton Moor.
Moor had clearly listened carefully to the weather forecast and chose to play with a strong wind behind them. They initially relied on a kicking game, but they couldn’t capitalise on the field position that it provided, and it was Oldham who opened the scoring when they cut through the middle and Andy Joy scored by the posts. Alex Jobson conversation made the score 7-0.
Moor continued to use the conditions well and it was no real surprise when they touched down in the right-hand corner having spread the ball wide. The Oldham defence seemed secure, though, despite the lack of possession and they even endured 10 minutes with 14 men following a yellow card without conceding any further points
Oldham began to believe that we might reach the interval with a narrow advantage when disaster struck. They had worked hard to repel another attack near their line and had secured a penalty and a chance to relieve the pressure.
But the kick into the elements was too ambitious and failed to find touch. To compound the problem, the Oldham defence seemed mesmerised and failed to respond and the lively Moor full back couldn’t believe the space that appeared before him, and he cantered to the line untouched to make the score 12-7.
To immediately make matters worse, the kick off failed to go 10 metres gifting Moor possession and they took full advantage to touch down and increase the lead to 17-7. This minute of madness had handed the initiative and an unexpected lead to the league leaders and Oldham looked shell shocked.
Oldham should not have been so far behind at half time but their ability to switch off once again let them down badly and left them with a mountain to climb. Poor decision making on the basics throughout the first half constantly undermined any good periods of play and ensured that the home side enjoyed territory and possession.
As the teams turned round, someone turned off the strong wind and the advantage that the home team had enjoyed for 40 minutes disappeared. They really had digested the weather forecast. It was evident that Oldham were still struggling to process the carnage at the end of the first half and Moor increased the lead further to 22-7 and it looked as if it might unravel completely.
Fortunately, they managed to regroup and a couple of 50/20 kicks raised spirits. But try as they might, they couldn’t string enough quality together to rattle a spirited Moor defence and with 10 minutes to go the score remained unchanged.
But Oldham eventually got a reward when some good fast hands created space for Jake Taylor to squeeze over in the corner to reduce the arrears to 22-12.
They continued to dominate and continued to frustrate but with a couple of minutes remaining Rhys Jones responded quickest to a free ball in the in-goal area and the score was 22-17.
With the clock running down, Oldham were one moment of magic away from securing what 10 minutes earlier appeared the most unlikely of wins. But that was where the romance ended, and Oldham coughed up the ball to leave the final score 22-17 to the home side.
- Oldham have slipped from a position of safety to bottom spot after being docked five points for failing to raise a team for the game against Orrell.