Northern Division – South Lancs & Cheshire Division 2

Oswestry 17

Didsbury TOC 27

Oswestry’s first clash of 2018 took place at fellow north Shropshire side Whitchurch’s Edgeley Road ground.

The Eagles kicked off but both sides traded blows without landing many before the visitors opened the scoring with a penalty after a positive start from the hosts.

Oswestry hit back as the heavy tackling took its toll on a Didsbury player who had to leave the pitch with an arm and shoulder injury. From the re-start Didsbury came straight back at Oswestry and they used the same tactic kicking deep into their half.

But James Roberts put the hosts ahead when he picked up a fumbled Didsbury pass from 40 yards out and ran in a great try managing to place the ball under the posts. Luca Owen-Youens kicked the conversion and Oswestry led 7-3.

Almost from the restart Oswestry were again on the attack with good runs by Andrew Smith, Jonathan Hughes and Scott Smith. Oswestry drew nearer to the try line helped by a great run by Thomas Henry Jones who through his speed and agility was able to create a gap feeding Jordan Tsang who passed the ball to Smith who ran in his ninth try of the season. The conversion was missed and Oswestry led 12-3.

However, Didsbury hit back with a try of their own to make it 12-10 to Oswestry but the Eagles stretched their lead again soon after James Fisher finished off a good team move on his debut to make it 17-10.

Coach Kevin Whitehead’s instructions were ‘same again’ but Didsbury closed the gap again a few minutes into the second half as they scored an unconverted try to make it 17-15 with pressure on oswestry in their own 22.

The visitors from Greater Manchester then took the lead for only the second time in the game with another unconverted try to make it 20-17 before their left winger scored Didsbury’s fourth try for a bonus point, which was converted, to leave the score 27-17 and Oswestry shellshocked.

Oswestry kept pushing the Didsbury team getting close before being pushed back and in the final moments of the match Nick Clay did put the ball over the try line but the try was disallowed. The game ended with Didsbury moving to fifth in the league and Oswestry dropping to eighth. Man of the match was awarded to James Fisher on his debut game.

Next week on Saturday, Oswestry face another difficult fixture when they travel to Orrell who are one place above Oswestry in the table.

Meanwhile, in the  Halbro North West Leagues – Division 4 South, Oswestry’s second XV went down by 36-19 at Lymm’s fourth team. On Saturday, they will host Crewe & Nantwich’s Third XV.