ON-SONG Oswestry look to make it six of the best in Saturday’s eagerly anticipated top of the table showdown with Ruskin Park in rugby’s South Lancs & Cheshire Two (2.15pm).
A five-match winning run has put the rising Eagles right back into title contention – and they now put their resurgence on the line when they entertain the current league leaders from St Helens.
Last Saturday’s 26-18 win at a physical Duckinfield continued the belief that the border men can prove serious challengers this term, having won eight times this season while losing just twice.
That record has left them just four points adrift of Ruskin Park who, having played one more game, arrive at Park Hall in even better nick on the back of a six match winning run.
So something has to give on Saturday, with the crunch clash involving the league’s two form sides looking too close to call.
Head coach Scott Sturdy, however, believes the Eagles have what it takes after overturning a 10-0 deficit to win at Duckinfield last week.
“This year we are a different proposition,” he said.
“We’ve picked up bonus points in all but one of our games and a bonus point win on Saturday will take us above Ruskin Park .”
In winning their last five matches Oswestry have racked up 166 points with Sturdy confident in his attacking side.
“Last season was difficult with a lot of key players missing but we have worked hard technically this year as shown by our performances,” he added.
“We’re scoring a lot of tries and there is a good feel about the club.
“We’re getting decent crowds as everyone loves a winning side.
“In the last five games in particular our fitness has really shown with us running in two or three tries in the last 20 minutes.
“We’ve got a big strong pack and speedy backs, and our plan is to wear down the opposition before opening them up in the second half.”
Oswestry name a 19-man squad for the big match and, despite a couple of knocks, they hope to be at full strength.
Winger Sam Martin is expected to play despite being a doubt through work.
The Eagles had to come from behind to overcome physical opponents Duckinfeld last week, with victory and the four tries seeing them take a bonus point and consolidate fourth spot.
They go into Saturday’s game with an 80 per cent success rate this season.
- Full report and more rugby inside this week’s Oswestry & Border Chronicle
By John Bridgwater