North Midland Vase

Market Drayton 34

Oswestry 40

Oswestry travelled to Market Drayton to play their first competitive game of the 2019/20 season.

Oswestry faced a Market Drayton team in the North Midland Vase for the first time since the mid 1990s.

What was more to play for was the Ken Barton Memorial Trophy which these teams have played for since the 1980s.

Market Drayton kicked off towards their clubhouse keen to impress their local supporters. Ed Lewis, new to the team this year, caught the ball and charged at the Drayton players, passing the ball to Conner Crompton, who carried the run on before being tackled.

The Oswestry team looked very slick in the play as Nick Clay quickly got the ball out to Michael Evans-Jones, playing at 10, who directed play to another new player, Salvatore Domingo, playing at 12.

All the early pressure was coming from Oswestry, whose strong play pushed the locals back. Good interplay between Domingo and Evans-Jones got the ball to prop Connor Blair, who was too strong to be caught and deservedly scored Oswestry’s first try.

Evans-Jones stood up and converted the try, putting Oswestry 7-0 up.

From the restart Market Drayton attacked Oswestry who were defending well and tried to carry on from where they left off.

The home team took about 15 minutes to get back on equal terms and from an intercepted pass were able to score and convert the try to make it 7-7.

Market Drayton were now full of confidence and Andrew Smith caught the ball and went on another run, taken on by Ed Lewis, who also drove on to the edge of the home team’s 22 when their large number five was able to take the ball and ran over 60 metres to score a try much to the delight of the home crowd.

The conversion was missed and the locals took the lead 12-7.

Just before half-time Drayton capitalised on more mistakes in the Oswestry defence and were able to score another try which again was missed. Half-time came with locals extending their lead to 17-7.

The locals came out in the second half clearly confident with the way the game was going.

After four minutes Captain Gareth Ellis and Iwan Ellis left the field and were replaced initially by another new player Adam Davies.

Oswestry, playing at that stage with 14 men, conceded a penalty which they were able to convert into a try. The try was converted and the lead stretched to 24-7.

From the restart another new player Aidan Gibbs came on, bringing Oswestry back to full strength.

After nine minutes a Drayton player received a yellow card, giving Oswestry a player advantage and almost immediately Crompton, who was denied a try earlier, made sure and charged over the line, pegging the score back to 24-12.

Once again Evans Jones, who was having a good day with the boot, converted the try, making the score 24-14.

Oswestry from the restart came back at the locals with good runs by Jones-Evans giving the ball to Domingo, who with his pace and strength was able to score his first try for Oswestry.

Evans-Jones converted the try making the score 24-21.

Good tackling from Oswestry gave them a scrum that Clay was able to pass to Fletcher Owen-Youens that gave the team some width before passing to eventually Domingo who scored his second try.

The score went to 24-26 but Evans-Jones was unable to make the kick.

From the restart Oswestry came back at Drayton, Aidan Gibbs passing to Clay.

The Drayton player who had been yellow-carded returned to the game.

Oswestry pressure made the locals concede another penalty and Evans-Jones made a good kick into the home team’s 22.

From the subsequent lineout and good hands by Clay allowed him to find Evans-Jones who passed onto Kershaw who could not be caught and ran in his first try of the day.

Evans-Jones returned to his accurate kicking and converted the try extending the lead to 24-33.

Oswestry, playing with confidence, were making the locals produce more mistakes allowing the Oswestry pack to give their backs better ball which again led to Kershaw scoring his second try of the day.

Evans-Jones rounded off a good day by converting the try, making the score 24 points to 40.

Matt Bowyer came on to replace Owen Wear in the front row.

Oswestry were clear but in all fairness Market Drayton were not beaten yet and with 15 minutes left to play scored a try, but missed the conversion. The score stood at 29-40.

In a nailbiting finish, Market Drayton pushed on to score their sixth try of the day making the score 34-40.

With less that four minutes to play Market Drayton pushed on, needing one more try and conversion to steal the game.

Jake Thurlow, who was also making his debut, made a good tackle to halt the locals as they neared the Oswestry line.

Oswestry held out and were able to get the ball out of play to win the fixture and the trophy.