Oswestry Eagles show their old fighting spirit in thriller

Reporter:

Staff reporter (Border Counties)

North Mids Shield semi-final

Oswestry 17

Kidderminster 19

Oswestry's resurgent stars came so close, yet so far to a much-needed boost when they fell at the final hurdle with defeat in a pulsating cup tie.

After recording their first – and, so far, only – league win last week, the Eagles set about their visitors showing skills not seen for the last few games at Granville Park.

Nick Clay, at scrum half, gave quick ball from the ruck and scrums, sending his flying backs across the field, mesmerising the Kidderminster defence, but a penalty given away by Oswestry saw the first score go the visitors’ way.

But the Eagles hit back straight away with a fabulous move from Andy Merret out to the winger Jordain Morris, who then faked a pass and darted inside for a great individual try, which was converted by Fin Grogan to make it 7-3 to Oswestry.

Both teams probed for any weaknesses they could find in the defensive lines, but were keeping each other out – Kidderminster were given two more kicks at goal from penalties while the Eagles converted one of their own to make 10-9 at half-time.

With the sun blazing down, and the many supporters being asked to cheer their team on, Kidderminster switched another gear to show why they where the defenders of this Shield.

Oswestry were now asking questions of themselves to defend against the quick backs of Kidderminster, but were up to the task as captain Andy Smith controlled the line defence.

However, Kidderminster’s play was quick enough to spot a gap in the Eagles’ armour when a mis-tackle let in the speedy winger to bring the score to 10-14 as their try went unconverted.

The Eagles kept working at getting back into the lead, showing the Granville Park faithful what they can offer with some speedy play, and they were soon rewarded.

The try came from a defensive error from Kidderminster; a penalty given close to the try line saw Matt Colee pick up the ball while Kidderminster were regrouping, and he found a gap to dive over the line for a great try, while Grogan converted to make it 17-14.

But Kidderminster, bringing all their skills and powerful play back into the game, put Oswestry on the back foot immediately and hit back with an unconverted try of their own to make it 17-19.

The supporters of both clubs were watching on nervously as the final few moments of action saw the pendulum swing both ways, but the visitors held on to secure a final place in a great game.

The Lanyon Bowdler and Hughes Bros man of the match was Dan Morgan.

This week, the Eagles play Manchester Medics at Granville Park (3pm).

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