South Lancs & Cheshire Division Two
Liverpool Collegiate 20
Oswestry ran league leaders Liverpool Collegiate close after the Merseysiders had dominated all previous matches.
Liverpool opened the scoring after they got the ball back from the kick, with their winger scoring after a crafty kick behind Oswestry lines, and the try was converted to make it 0-7 inside two minutes.
The Liverpool players and support they brought with them must have thought they were off to such a good start that they were going to run up a cricket score.
However, Oswestry had other ideas and Luca Owen-Youens put Oswestry into the Liverpool 22 which was quickly followed by Andy Merritt, Fletcher Owen Youens and Guy Howell.
Big hitting tackling went in from the Oswestry players and the ball was fed back to Gareth Ellis who went on a run towards the Liverpool line.
Liverpool were now in a match and Oswestry forced a penalty which Luca Owen-Youens was able to convert the kick bringing score to 3-7.
Liverpool showed their class to gain good ground from the restart and won a penalty in the Oswestry half which was kicked to make it 10-3.
After a quarter of an hour, play was suspended due to a Liverpool player suffering a serious ankle injury that subsequently required an ambulance to convey him to hospital.
After 35 minutes play was resumed with a scrum being awarded to Liverpool.
Heavy tackling continued with all pack members doing their bit for the team charging for the Liverpool line.
The pressure imposed by Ellis, Callum Crutchely and Ruben James made Liverpool concede another penalty to Oswestry.
Unfortunately the kick didn’t go over and Oswestry were still behind by seven points.
Liverpool stretched that lead to 12 points when they scored an unconverted try but at the restart Oswestry, with the Italian trio of Bercioh, Nickola Nikolov and Fabrizio Gaito leading the way, stole ground from the away side.
Nick Clay produced a fine pass that eventually found Luca Owen-Youens who was too strong and fast for Liverpool and he ran in a try from 10 yards, which remained unconverted.
At the stroke of half time Oswestry were awarded a penalty kick which Luca Owen Youens was able to kick, bringing the score to 11-15 at half time.
At the start of the second half the rain started and remained for most of the rest of the game making the ball very slippery and difficult to keep in hand.
Liverpool were quicker off the mark and ran in their third try but, again, were unable to convert, leaving it 11-20
However, relentless pressure imposed on Liverpool paid dividends for Oswestry with the help of James Roberts and Merritt, Luca Owen-Youens was able to score his second try but was unable to kick the conversion to make it 16-20, where it would finish.
Skipper Andrew Smith was yellow carded for an infringement and had to watch as his players managed to keep attacking the Liverpool line even though they had a one man disadvantage.
Smith returned to the pitch and Liverpool were grateful for the final whistle, with Luca Owen-Youens picking up the man-of-the-match award.
n Oswestry has a difficult home fixture against Veseyans RFC from the West Midlands in a cup competition this weekend.
Kick off will be at 3pm on Saturday at Granville Park – all support welcome.
n Meanwhile, the 2nd XV lost heavily to north Shropshire rivals Whitchurch, going down 58-7 at Edgeley Park.
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