Oldham 3rd 29 v Eccles 3rd 29 02/9/2017

An away day saw the start of another league campaign with 3rds securing a creditable draw in fast flowing match played on a perfect grass sward (true ) with plenty of incidents for post match discussion..Gary Hamer who again is organising  the team was away on holiday from this fixture touring Europe (did not manage to find any players) so Paul Thorpe who will be involved with the denizens of the deep took charge of this one.A  squad of 14 cobbled together was a result and with the loan of a flanker and crucially a hooker from Oldham Ben Prince  an Jay Aherne could form a front row behind them Anthony Simpson and Tony Hudson back up from the beer cellar after celebrating his 57th birthday with grizzly Adam Austin and donning his boots Thorpey to complete the pack .The back line was a lot more youthful with Jack Walton down from the mountain , Mike Lewin , Jason Davies and the crazy gang Lee Murphy ,Steve Bagnall ,Reg Holt and Lenny McCarthy.This disparate band started well and could have snatched a couple of tries with neat work from the backs but wrong choices saw the chances lost. The home side had a big and strong pack so it was a surprise that a maul was pushed back steadily to the Oldham line where Adam Austin emerged from the bottom of the pile to claim a try.(0-7) Whilst on the attack a pass  from Thorpey was intercepted with Oldham scoring a long range try (7-7) which was followed by a mix up in another attack resulting in lost ball and a second home try (12-7) but good handling and saw Eccles level with Steve Bagnall speeding in under the posts but Jack shanked his conversion (would have taken the head off a dwarf)(12-12). A third home try saw Oldham take a 19-12 lead into the interval. Eccles dominated territory in opening period of the second half but Oldham broke away to extend the lead (24-12) .A tap penalty saw Eccles  on the attack with Jack Walton slipping through to touchdown (24-19)Time marched on with Mike Lewin seeing yellow for 10 mins but an Eccles counter attack sliced through home defence with winger Reg Holt touching down (24-24) but parity did not last long as defensive line out was tapped back over the Eccles line for an Oldham try as defenders reacted slowly (29-24) .An owd smooth headed chap left his linesman role and came on and turned the game  (Thorpey’s words) and whenever has the Quill disseminated false news! .Time trickled to the “last play” but Oldham running ball into touch fell foul of the referee meaning 5 minutes of overtime ensued when twice more Oldham’s kick to touch were ruled illegal amid much argument Eccles were awarded a penalty which was run in and then sped out to wing where Bagnall dived over to score(29-29) .Cue more furore as with claims that Baggers had run into touch but with the substitute linesman dossing on halfway a draw was secured.Both teams felt that they each had enough chances to have gained the  win and from the 3rds a good performance despite the numerous mistakes and encouraging  for the future so a collective pat on the back .Thorpey (with his new catch phrase “where is Jack ?” ) could have got D.O.T.D for that pass  or Jack for his shank the jury backed the latter