Cheshire/South Lancs Division Two
Oswestry Firsts 22, Congleton 3
OSWESTRY Eagles entertained Congleton on a wet and sticky Granville Park pitch and emerged with a convincing 19-point victory.
The Eagles began impressively from the kick off, playing with skill and intensity and moving the ball through the hands and quick ball at the breakdown.
The home side came close to a try in the opening minute, but a contentious penalty awarded to Congleton denied them.
Oswestry regained possession from the ensuing punt forward, before a deft kick from the halfway line allowed Zac Baldwin to dive on the moving ball to score the first try. Fin Grogan then duly stepped up to slot the conversion between the posts.
This visitors responded well and showed their own attacking prowess to pin the Eagles in their own half for almost 10 minutes.
Time and again Oswestry’s front row stood firm to resist the onslaught and eventually propelled the ball out of the Eagles’ half.
Grogan then slotted home a penalty from an acute angle to open up a 10-0 lead as playing conditions deteriorated rapidly.
A superb maul from the Eagles pushed the ball over the line with the big second row Mike Davis emerging out of the mud in glory to give the Eagles a commanding 15-0 lead.
As the rain lashed down and the pitch became a cut-up mudbath, the referee could hardly distinguish the team colours of either side.
Both teams struggled to play possession rugby with a flurry of penalties awarded for handling errors and knock-ons.
Congleton took their opportunity for three points to get themselves on the scoreboard.
The introduction of substitute Jamie Luckett on the wing and Scott Double in the pack galvanised Oswestry later in the game. A quick ball out to the left wing saw Luckett exploit the space ahead of him and tear down the wing to cross triumphantly in the corner.
Grogan stepped up to apply the extras with a perfectly-judged kick.
The Eagles pushed desperately for a fourth-try, but were denied when the referee was unable to definitively rule if an Oswestry player had crossed the mud-obscured tryline.
n The Eagles return to action on Saturday, January 9 away to Dukenfield.