Match 2, Semi Finals: 343 v. 184  

Forget England versus West Germany in Italia ’90. The second semi-final clash ought to be a cracker, following the Mossley route’s shock victory over the 192 service. Both routes follow each other from Oldham to Grotton.

Please, Lees catch me now…

In previous entries we have waxed lyrical over the scenery on the 343 route. Ultimately, the 343 succeeds in linking its respective communities with important services. Not only town centres, but also leisure centres, schools, clinics, dentists, and workplaces. In exactly the same way its predecessors did with the cotton mills ‘back in the day’.

Since April 2012, the first Oldham-bound bus out of Lees after 0930 on a weekday has been… Stott’s Tours’ 343 route. Arriving a few minutes before the 180s and 184s, it is well-patronised by bus passengers of a pensionable age. The friendliness of its drivers make for a more congenial atmosphere.

The scenic way to Huddersfield

The train from Greenfield may be good for speed (when it eventually arrives) but the 184 can be a superior alternative. The train might offer superb views up to Diggle but the views above Standedge Moor are sensational.

Like the 343, the 184 serves its communities along the way, along both sides of the Pennines. It also finishes early, but the 184 lacks an evening service or an after-hours sister service. If you are travelling into the Colne Valley from Greater Manchester, a good starting point for exploring local routes. Marsden is a good place to start as is Slaithwaite. For exploring Greater Manchester, alight at Oldham for a day’s bus-bashing in and around the town. Where you could also catch the 343 or the 350 into Mossley. Or the 409 to Ashton.

Full Time Score:

343 [Oldham] 1 – 1 184 [Huddersfield]

After Extra Time, 184 [Huddersfield] win 2 – 1.

It was a tough game, though one that could have been high scoring with a different referee. Two perfect good goals for the 343 were disallowed for being offside. In the end, the 184 service found a last minute winning goal from behind the sofa. Therefore, the 343 will meet the X43 on Saturday night’s Third Place Play-Off match.

S.V., 11 July 2018.

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