Lancashire/Cheshire Division Two

Oswestry 24

Vagabonds (I.o.M) 22

Oswestry’s first XV started the New Year with a bang as they overcame second-placed Vagabonds (Isle of Man) in a hard-fought encounter.

The Isle of Man side travelled to Granville Park having beaten Oswestry back in October, but the hosts were not ready to let a repeat happen.

With the visitors holding the top spot for a large part of the season, Oswestry would have been expecting a tough fixture, and they got exactly that.

The early play was dominated in the set play by Vagabonds who had a bigger pack and were taking advantage of good ball putting Oswestry under pressure.

But a determined Oswestry side withstood the early pressure with all men putting good tackles in causing the Vagabonds to make mistakes.

These mistakes led to a penalty for the Eagles after eight minutes which was kicked home by Fin Grogan to put the hosts three points up.

Oswestry extended their lead moments later when Nikola Nikolov jinked through several tackles to cross the line and score an excellent try.

More pressure from the Oswestry men followed and another foul by Vagabonds led to another penalty opportunity for Grogan, who kicked well to make the score 11-0.

Vagabonds still looked dangerous and came back at Oswestry and after valiant defending by Oswestry on the 20-minute mark, Vagabonds were able to score and convert a try pegging the score back to 11-7.

This seemed to push Oswestry on even more, as they looked to extend their lead again before the break.

Another strong run by Nikolov resulted in him passing the ball to Fletcher Owen-Youens who grabbed the side’s second try of the day which was converted by Harri Jones who made the score 18-7 at half-time.

After the break, Vagabonds kicked things off but soon found themselves on the back foot as they gave Oswestry another penalty – Jones stepping up and kicking through the posts this time to make it 21-7.

The game was then turned on its head as Vagabonds scored two tries, converting one, to make it 22-21 in the visitors’ favour.

But Oswestry saved themselves late in the game as they won another penalty – up stepped Jones to fire home and give his side the victory with a score of 24-22.

The Eagles now sit third in the league and face Oxton Parkonians away on Saturday.