South Lancs/Cheshire League One
Southport 36, Oswestry 15
Oswestry travelled to Southport knowing this game was going to be another good encounter, having drawn the previous game between the two 15-15.
From the start, Southport attacked the Oswestry try line trying to dominate this match in front of a substantial home crowd urging their team to get the first try.
After five minutes of continual defending from the Eagles, the home team got the try they wanted, making it 7-0 with the conversion.
However, this did not deter the away team and with good rucking, and great moves to the backs, a kick through saw Phil Drury being obstructed from scoring by a desperate Southport player, leaving the ref with no choice but to award a penalty try to level the scores.
Southport again attacked the Oswestry defence, probing any weaknesses and mistakes that would come from the Eagles with the pressure on.
With a penalty given to Southport they took a quick tap and sent their quick winger down the line to score another try, but no conversion, to make it 12-7.
Oswestry received a blow when Iwan Ellis went off injured, with Tom Booth on as his replacement.
Oswestry were battling to stay in this game and put a score on the board, but unfortunately, the score went the other way as the hosts scored another unconverted try to lead 17-7.
But the Eagles struck back before the break, as Southport conceded penalties and Luca Owen-Youens stepped up to take a shot at the posts straight through the middle, leaving it at 17-10 at half-time.
After the break Oswestry now attacked this Southport team with a new vigour, playing the ball close and pushing the men from the north back.
There was excellent play from Andy Merrett, spreading the ball to his backs, probing the Southport defence, the Oswestry pack now up for this game, time and again neatly there, but good defence from Southport stopped the elusive try.
But it was a case of same old for the Eagles as a mistake from Oswestry let the Southport team in to score another try to make it 22-10.
But Oswestry showed greater determination than in recent weeks, with skipper Andy Smith urging his men on, which led to excellent play from the whole team.
They were getting closer to the Southport try line, encamped in the Southport 22, and a magnificent maul and push over try saw the Oswestry men gain strength from this one, but no conversion.
However, the hosts were able to score two more tries to push the overall score to 35-15 at the end, taking advantage of Oswestry’s tired mistakes.
By no means was this game a walkover for Southport, whose supporters clapped the Eagles off the pitch knowing the Shropshire men had put up a gallant and extraordinary effort to play great rugby and still compete in this league.
n This week, Oswestry play Sefton in a long -waited home game, and will be holding a ‘Ladies Day’ for the club with the England versus Wales Six Nations match televised at the club.
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