Upper Eden Eagles complete double against Oldham
Upper Eden Eagles secured the double against a determined Oldham side as they secured a 48-19 win.
To add to the victory, the Eagles had the special news that England Rugby had identified the Eagles as their Team of the Month for March.
The 12pm kick-off at Oldham’s Manor Park ground meant an early start for the Eagles who were slow to find their form, with Oldham dominating much of the first half.
After a minute’s silence for University of West England rugby player Maddy Lawrence, the Eagles were kicked off.
Oldham were ready to avenge a 43-5 loss to Upper Eden the previous month and quickly made their mark with a converted try.
A big tackle and turnover from captain Julie Proctor on the restart helped the Eagles regain possession.
The forwards then fed the ball to winger Annabel Dickinson who showed excellent pace, dodging the Oldham defense to score under the posts. Lucy Branthwaite is converted.
Oldham then won the ball back from the restart, only to have it returned by Branthwaite who broke the defensive line. She sent the ball to inside center Helena Scullion who made a quick run to score Eden’s second try.
Oldham’s strong attacking group fought back with a second down, and at half-time it was anyone’s game at 14-12.
It had been a confident first-half performance from the hosts, but the Eagles reacted quickly at the start of the second half.
Flanker Mary Trimmer produced an excellent turnover on the breakdown, allowing the ball to be sent into the back of Scullion, who leaped through the opposition to score his second try.
A lineout from Oldham on the hosts’ 22-yard line was won by Upper Eden, and the ball was moved quickly down the line towards back Chloe Collinson, who used her speed to score the fourth try for ‘Eden. Branthwaite converted to open a ten-point lead.
The Eagles were now dominating the game, and a quick turnover in the opposing half allowed Branthwaite to break and find scrum-half Lauren Taylor who broke again to score under the posts for Branthwaite to convert.
Oldham responded with an unconverted try but generally they were frustrated and stuck in their own half.
The Eagles were firmly focused, ‘back on the horse’ and playing good rugby.
Trimmer collected the ball from the back of a maul and sent it to Taylor, who saw a gap to the blindside and made his second break to score in the corner.
Branthwaite put in an outstanding kick from the touchline to convert, earning plenty of applause from the onlookers.
In a final foray, Upper Eden won possession from the restart and Branthwaite made a solo run to get past the defense and score under the posts. She added the conversion at the final whistle.
The Eagles were put to the test against a determined Oldham side but didn’t let a slow start ruffle their feathers.
They showed great character and composure to finally overpower strong opposition and claim a clear victory.
It was Eden’s fourth straight win, leading England Rugby to identify the Eagles as March’s ‘Team of the Month’, chosen according to match card statistics, along with the Red Roses prop Maud Muir sending the team a note of congratulations.
Forward of the match – Mary Trimmer
Return of the match – Lauren Taylor
Opposition Pick – Lucy Branthwaite
The Upper Eden Eagles’ final game of the season is at home to the Winnington Park Ladies this Sunday.