Congleton 8 Ellesmere Port 15
THE Oilers kicked off 2013 with an away win in South Lancs/Cheshire Three.
The depth of the Ellesmere Port squad was tested to the full as several regulars were missing, including Chris Carbutt, centre Lee Craddock, winger/hooker Craig Jones and scrum -half Jim Hawkins.
Their places were filled by Elliot Edwards, Dan Rowett, Jake Dibble and Paul Edwards.
The visitors went ahead thanks to a penalty kicked by stand-off Edwards.
Congleton levelled with a penalty of their own but Port then began to play – and for the remainder of the half they were the dominant force.
They regained the lead when No8 James Callaghan went bursting through several tackles and fed hooker Mike Padmore, who barged over the line. Edwards’ conversion made it 10-3.
Port continued to threaten but did not score again until three minutes before half time.
Centre and man of the match Rowett made a great break, running 40 yards through the heart of the Congleton defence. His pass found fullback Anthony Jones, who dummied the last man to cross the whitewash for a 15-3 lead.
Neither side could score for the first 20 minutes of the second half, although the Oilers were still the better team and did not capitalise on the possession they had.
The try of the second period went to Congleton, but the Port managed to see out the game and claim the win, despite having to play the final 10 minutes with 14 men following the dismissal of winger Jake Dibble.
The Oilers’ next match is at home to Helsby a week on Saturday.
Ellesmere Port 2nds ran out 131-7 winners against Ormskirk on Saturday, with Craig Jones – who was unable to travel with the first team due to work commitments – notching five tries.