Two From Two
Bolton 17 Oldham 12
Oldham came to the Avenue, having won their last seven league games. Bolton were optimistic after beating De la Salle the previous week. Everyone was looking forward to an exciting encounter and they were not disappointed.
Bolton started the game very well. They dominated possession for the first ten to fifteen minutes so Oldham were not able to cope with Bolton’s attack and their strong defence. During that time Bolton were awarded two penalties and Chris Brownlow
converted one of them to take an early lead. It was very evident that was a wake-up call for Oldham and they started to come back into the game by their direct running and support play. Nevertheless, Bolton’s defence was up to the attacks and were able to cope. Bolton were dominating the scrums, making life difficult for Oldham as they had them retreating in nearly every scrum. Unfortunately, they did not get the penalties they deserved because Oldham were wheeling the scrum and the front were not binding. Oldham in the twenty third minute scored a try which was not converted. Bolton came back again and had a few good breaks, but they were not allowed to capitalise on these due to some good tackling by Oldham. In the fortieth minute Rhys Pritchard
received the ball just inside Oldham’s half, side-stepped his opposite number and sprinted through the gap, evading two or three tackles. Just before he was finally tackled, ten metres short of the line, he off-loaded the ball to Owen McKenna
who scored under the posts and Chris Brownlow
Half-time scored Bolton 10 Oldham 7
The second half started with both sides trying to dominate play. Oldham gained some advantage by using their pick-up and go from the base of the ruck. Bolton were trying to move the ball wide where possible. After the opening salvos of this half Bolton, in the fifty-fourth minute, had moved the ball into Oldham’s twenty-two. At a ruck the ball was moved wide. Chris Brownlow
came on a lovely angled run to receive a short ball, cut through the defence and score his first try for the first team. He then converted his own try. Oldham were not done yet and scored very good try in the sixty fifth minute which they converted. Bolton were now leading 17 – 12. The game took on a much harder edge with Bolton trying to create space to increase their lead and Oldham trying to win. In the last ten minutes Oldham were camped in Bolton’s twenty-two and some tremendous defence by Bolton kept them at bay. On one driving maul Oldham thought they had scored but they were held up over the line and the referee gave a five-metre scrum. At this scrum Bolton tackled so well that Oldham were forced back outside the twenty-two. It was a nerve-wracking last few minutes for all the players and spectators alike. The referee’s whistle went for full-time and Bolton had deservedly held on for their second win of the year.
Bolton players did not shirk their individual responsibilities, worked well as a team and their defence was outstanding. It was very difficult to choose a Man of the Match for Bolton because everyone played so well. Oldham’s committee members chose Bolton’s Gaz Pritchard
as their Man of the Match.