Oswestry maintained their 100 per cent away record with a hard-fought win at Oldershaw.
Storm Brian had certainly made its presence known, and the hosts were looking for a jumpstart from the appointment of a new coach.
Oldershaw kicked off proceedings and were quick to find themselves in the Oswestry 22 with a little help from the wind.
Their large forwards were quick to seize on an opportunity and push the Oswestry pack back and within minutes of the start of the game were able to push over for a try, which was unconverted (5-0).
Fin Grogan, who was making his return to the team, took control in the centre as Oswestry tried to get a foothold in the game, and he dictated play with intelligent kicks into the Oldershaw defence.
After 15 minutes of hard tackling Oswestry were starting to make holes in the Oldershaw line; Marco Bercich making a number of charges at Oldershaw, always committing a number of opposing players to tackle him.
On one such a run he got the ball to Fabrizio Gaitio in turn to Nick Clay and finally Luca Owen-Youens who from 15 yards out was unstoppable and ran in his first try of the afternoon.
Grogan stepped up and kicked over the conversion giving Oswestry a narrow 5-7 lead.
The weather did not relent but Oswestry kept on going and were starting to dominate the play but kept giving away penalties.
The Eagles had one try disallowed before half-time, but at the break coach Kevin Whitehead encouraged his players to carry on and keep doing what they were doing on the pitch.
The second half started with Oswestry charging the restart kick into Oldershaw’s half but with the wind assistance, the hosts were able to return the ball back to the Oswestry 22.
Oldershaw were awarded with yet another penalty kick which they elected to kick for goal. They were successful and retook the lead at 8-7.
Oswestry were becoming increasingly frustrated by the referee’s decisions, and Luca Owen-Youens received a yellow card for questioning the official.
Despite being reduced to 14, Oswestry defended well, with Hugh Adams making his debut for the first team, replacing Scott Faulkes.
James Curtis, another debutant, came on and was quickly involved in the action having to make a defensive kick and tackle to prevent Oldershaw going any further.
The hard tackling started to take its toll on both sets of players Guy Howell being replaced by Michael Keaveny and Olly Daure’ making his second appearance for the team. Oswestry were awarded a line out and Luca Owen-Youens returned to the play.
He made an instant impact as he finished a good team move but again they try was unconverted, with the score at 8-12.
Oswestry added another try after some fantastic running from James Roberts, but again went unconverted to give them a 17-8 lead, which proved to be too much for the Belvedere Road men.
Man of the match was awarded to Bercich. Oswestry remain fifth in the table and have yet another away fixture at Marple on Saturday (3pm).
Oswestry 2 19
Sandbach 3 27
Oswestry Seconds welcomed Sandbach Thirds at Granville Park and with Storm Brian around it was clear that it would be a forward-dominated game.
This proved a good challenge for the Oswestry pack as it contained four colts. It only took four minutes for a try to be scored as poor communication in the Oswestry back line allowed Sandbach through and the try was converted (0-7).
Sandbach were also next on the scoresheet, several missed tackles allowed the opposition’s offensive line through once again (0-12).
Oswestry finally started to put some good phases of rugby together, clearing out rucks and breaking the defensive line.
After sucking in a number of the Sandbach defenders, the ball was played out wide to winger Tomas Booth who ran half the pitch to get Oswestry’s first points – the try was converted by Paul Curran (7-12).
Oswestry had the opposite camped in their own 10 metres for several phases of play and Scott Smith was quickest to react to a defensive mistake a put Oswestry ahead as Curran again converted (14-12).
After the half-time break, Oswestry were the more dominant side; captain Tudor Jones and Olly Wilford were ever present in the face of the Sandbach defence.
Again good clearing out and strong forward play pushed the defence back until Olly Wilford forced himself over the try line – the try was unconverted (19-12).
Smith was shown a yellow card for a late tackle, which the opposition fly half took advantage of and converted the penalty to bring Sandbach closer (19-15).
Although down to 14 men the Oswestry defence remained resilient until another penalty was given away within their 22.
Sandbach decided to run the ball as were able to get over the line to put themselves into the lead. Oswestry were the stronger team for the last quarter of the game, but the wet conditions made it difficult to get the ball wide and around the Sandbach defence.
The visitors secured the win by scoring just a few minutes before the final whistle, with the game ending 19-27.
Although spending 10 minutes on the side line, man of the match was awarded to Scott Smith with special mention also for Jake Smith who commanded the pack from scrum half.
See full story in the Advertizer