Eagles lose out in opener

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Border Counties)

South Lancashire/Cheshire League Division Two
Oswestry Firsts 27,
Moore Firsts 32
The Eagles went into their first league game looking to build on last week’s cup win, with Moore the opponents.
A good crowd turned out to see the first home game of the season to spur the team on, along with many spectators from Moore.
Scrum-half Dan Williams opened the scoring with an early penalty as the game started at a fast pace.
Both teams were looking to play wide, quick-paced rugby and it was Moore who drew first blood as their fly-half made good use of dummy runners and danced through the Oswestry line to score, then added the extras with the boot.

The Eagles then looked to execute their game plan from the kick-off and began to build up some phases and some good build-up work followed by good handling in the backs which saw fly-half Andy Merrett cross the whitewash, Williams converting.
The game remained evenly balanced for most of the half, with both sides defending well.
Moore, however, scored again just before half-time though the conversion was missed and the game remained evenly poised.
The half-time score was 12-10.
Oswestry began the second half poorly, lacking structure and discipline in both defence and attack.
Moore worked hard to capitalise on this, working some good phases and showing good hands in the backs.
This led to a good try, converted, making the score 19-10.
The Eagles were then dealt a blow as second row Phil Drury received a harsh yellow card for not retreating 10 metres from a quick penalty tap from Moore.
Moore worked to make their extra numbers count and a quick ball from a scrum saw them score another try, unconverted.
Strong words from skipper Andrew Smith then saw Oswestry raise their game and begin to use the game plan once more, and pressure led to another well taken penalty-kick from Williams, with Moore then scoring one in reply.
The Oswestry forwards then began building up good phases but a quick turnover by Moore after confusion at a ruck saw them score a breakaway try, despite good scramble defence by full-back Gaz Hughes and wings Nick Clay and Jack Fox.
Following this, The Eagles picked up their game once more and started to apply pressure.
They were boosted by the return of Phil Drury and some fresh legs in the form of subs Mike Davies and Rich McFie.
Good phases followed by great handling by centres Elliott Wilson and Chris Roberts saw Fox use his pace and quick feet to score on his debut, converted by Williams. Tails up, Oswestry were looking for two more tries with 10 minutes remaining and the score at 32-20.
Moore recognised this and, when faced with a penalty in the Eagles’ half, looked to gain the three points and put themselves three scores ahead but the kick was missed.
Phases were built up well with number eight Dan Samuels leading from the front on his return from injury.
The pressure finally told and captain Smith forced his way over, with Williams completing a faultless day with the boot.
But the final whistle then blew with no time for another kick-off.
The potential of the team was shown in the final 20 minutes and building on this will be the aim.
l This week, the Eagles will welcome Marple to Granville Park.

Raging Bull North West League
Division Four South
Oswestry Seconds 54,
Moore Seconds 17
The first game of the season ended in an encouragingly dominant victory for the Eagle’s second team.
Being unable to field a full team, Moore were bolstered by Oswestry replacements.
It was clear that Oswestry’s strength lay in their young back line and within 10 minutes centre Nick Howland got outside of his opposite number and glided in under the posts.
This was quickly followed by another score as Iwan Willis stepped through the scrambling Moore defence.
A lack of discipline and good use of their forward power meant Moore edged towards the try line and eventually some flimsy tackling lead to the number nine crashing over.
In a carbon copy attack Moore scored again just minutes after through Oswestry’s own marauding tight head Andrew McLaughlin, sadly ending his try drought against his own team.
Strong carries by Danny Lawrence and Luke Parkes carried them over the gain line, setting a platform for Oswestry to use their fast backs who scored two more to lead 26-12 at the interval.
With a swap around of loaned players, Oswestry started the second half at lightning pace.
Tyler Morris’ support play earned him two tries before Willis broke the line again and in a footrace against Moore’s winger, was tackled just short of the line but Oswestry tracked the run to put Howland in again.
With Moore tiring, the combination of Angus Bownes and Howland in the centres resulted in another try for Howland to make it seven tries in two games for the young winger.
Fourteen points from fly-half Richard Wilson rounded off an impressive display from a mainly inexperienced second fifteen and man of the match was awarded to Griffiths with a commanding display in his first start at fly-half.

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