Tarleton were up against Oldham RUFC and following their first defeat of the season away to Fleetwood last Saturday (13-12) they knew that they had to try and secure a win to keep up with the league leaders.
The weather wasn’t contusive to the flowing rugby that Tarleton aspire to with extremely high winds making ball handling difficult for both sides. However, a good match was witnessed by the windblown spectators.
The first ten minutes saw both sides adjusting their game plan to the conditions and both defences were worked hard to produce a midfield stalemate. It was Oldham who opened the scoring after a Tarleton scrum on half way resulted in a lost ball in the tackle as the ball was thrown wide and Oldham broke through to score a converted try and take a 7-0 lead.
Tarleton came back almost straight away and pressurised the Oldham line with a series of attacks that the Oldham defence coped with very well. Tarleton were guilty of trying to force the pace a bit and whilst trying to move the ball quickly across the line to bypass the Oldham defenders the ball was intercepted and Oldham ran in a second try which was also converted to give them a 14-0 lead.
Tarleton continued to press and just before half time some slick handling and direct line running saw Frasier Grieves crash over the line for what looked to be a certain try but an Oldham defender prevented the ball being grounded so at half time the score remained at 14- 0 to Oldham.
The second half saw Tarleton with the advantage of the wind behind them and they put in attack after attack which Oldham dealt with well. Tarleton got into the Oldham 22 on many occasions but just couldn’t get through some resolute defence with Jon Tyrer and Hugo Castle both going agonisingly close to the try line.
The half continued in this way for the rest of the game, with Oldham breaking out of defence a few times to cause a bit of concern but never looked like scoring again.
This was just a day were the team just couldn’t find the gaps that they can usually create and Oldham deserved the victory for their efforts in defence that shows lots of time on the training ground working on this element of their game.
Other results probably went Tarletons’ way as they remain 2nd in the league 6 points behind league leaders Keswick who they travel to next week to try and get back to winning ways.
The Second XV had a great away win at Vale of Lune and this puts them in 3rd place in their league with a game in hand on the teams above. They face De La Salle at home next Saturday which is going to be another bruising encounter.