South Lancs/Cheshire Division 2
Oswestry 10, Orrell 21
OSWESTRY fell to fifth position in the league after suffering their third consecutive defeat since the Christmas break.
An evenly contested opening to the game saw both sides enjoy possession without any meaningful penetration.
Orrell began to exert their control on the game and converted an early penalty to open up a three point lead.
The Eagles responded well and took the lead when Zac Baldwin’s quick pass allowed his fellow countryman, Hamish Fuller to place the ball over the line, though the resulting conversion was missed.
Shortly afterwards Orrell were awarded another penalty near the uprights, which was duly converted to re-establish a narrow lead.
Another Oswestry infringement soon gifted Orrell a third penalty, which was despatched to open up a 9-5 lead for the visitors.
From an Oswestry line-out Jamie Luckett collected the ball and kicked long upfield, allowing Orrell to gain possession and respond with a long kick of their own deep into Oswestry territory.
Gaz Hughes chased hard but the bounce of the ball was cruel and allowed Orrell to pounce and then capitalise with their first try.
Orrell led 14-5 at the interval, but Oswestry emerged from their half-time team talk with renewed purpose and intent on clawing themselves back into the game.
Gaz Hughes was the Eagles’ creative outlet, supported with fine play from Baldwin and Fuller, the trio came close to their second try but were foiled by a fierce Orrell defence.
Playing conditions deteriorated as the game wore on, as the abundant wet mud caked the players and rendered team colours indistinguishable.
With Oswestry battling hard for a foothold, the game descended into a series of scrums with little attacking enterprise from either side.
However, the Eagles were not to be denied when impressive work from their forwards allowed Baldwin to firmly place the ball over the line for a try and reducing. The resulting kick from distance was missed, leaving the Eagles trailing by four points.
Buoyed by their try, Oswestry searched in vain for another as Ivor Hughes, Rich Owen and Fuller strung together a sequence of great passes and movement only to be called back for a scrum.
With a minute to go Oswestry were on the attack again, but a loose ball found the boot of Orrell’s number 12, who sent it long and was collected close to the line for an Orrell try, which looked suspiciously offside.
Shortly before the final whistle, the conversion was duly despatched to give the visitors a 21-10 victory.
The Eagles next game is an away trip to Marple on January 31.