Always difficult opponents, Bedworth arrived at Fenley Field fresh from a morale boosting victory over Newbold a week earlier but were comprehensively outgunned by an OLs’ team who mastered them in every phase of play.
OLs started with a gem of a try in the sixth minute when mesmerising sleight of hand by Dan O’Brien and Iain Wallis worked an opening for Simon Bayliss coming in off his wing and he sliced clean through the defence, O’Brien adding the goal points to his try.
Another Bedworth attack was broken up by some powerful defence and the ball was spilled in OLs’ 22. Jon Bean was first to it and made 40 metres upfield where Bayliss took it on before finding Ben Anderson up in support, the lock forward storming over, O’Brien converting the try for 14-0 after 15 minutes.
A trademark Carl Adams burst set up the position from which O’Brien added a penalty before some top quality handling saw the ball reach Chris le Poidevin 30 metres out and the prop forward charged through a retreating defence to touch down. O’Brien improved the try and OLs were 24-0 ahead.
OLs were doing all the attacking and effectively stifling any Bedworth attempts to counter with an unrelenting display of destructive tackling, flanker Jack Morphet leading the way with a top quality performance.
As half time approached, OLs scored a fine try direct from a set scrum. O’Brien’s pass gave Wallis half an opening and the centre’s break took him into the 22 before he linked with full back Ben Wiles who finished the move for a half time score of 29-0.
With just two minutes of the second half played, OLs added a fifth try, started down the right by Bayliss before the ball was switched left through quick hands for James Orbinson to send Troy Owen over, the try converted from near touch by O’Brien kick for 36-0.
Minutes later Bedworth scored a consolation try from one of the few spells of concerted pressure and possession they enjoyed, the try improved for 36-7. After a crafty cross field kick from O’Brien was fielded by Owen and Wiles was just held near the line, OLs won the following lineout and Ben Nuttall barrelled over for a try, O’Brien adding the extras for 43-7. The scoring was completed by Owen’s second try as he outflank the defence and went over.
Attention now turns to this Saturday’s big match when OLs travel to Coalville for the Midlands final of the RFU Intermediate Cup. The winners of this match will take on the Northern Division champions for a place in the national final at Twickenham. At least one supporters coach will be travelling to the Leicestershire club so get in touch with Bill Wallis to book your coach seats, full contact details on the club’s website.
Syston IIs 36 OLs IIs 18
It’s always good to test yourselves against a higher-level team and Old Laurentians travelled to the depths of Leicestershire for what was expected to be a very tough encounter and this turned out to be the case in a game of real quality.
The intensity, skill and pace of the match was as high as any game played by the IIs this season as they demonstrated their playing ability.
The first half performance in particular was excellent as they put Syston under pressure with a strong set piece, a superb kicking game and imagination with the ball.
OLs started the stronger and pressure led to a penalty 30 yards out which was converted by Sam Taylor for a three nil lead.
The kick off catch, ruck and clearance kick by Ben Roach took play back into the Syston 22. Syston tried to play their way out of their half but strong tackling and disciplined defence led to a turnover and penalty kicked to the corner.
The ensuing catch and drive was well controlled and Andy Coleman crashed over for the try, and an 8-0 lead.
The game was now ebbing and flowing as both sides played at great pace – the scrum was a really good battle as both sides seemed to take it in turns to get a nudge on, although neither side gained dominance in this area – similarly in the lineout both sides had sufficient quality to gain their own ball despite decent challenges from the opposition– OLs used Paul Lewis, Cain Jones and Charlie Seager to good effect – with Mark Todd’s accurate throwing and the lifters all knew what they were doing.
From a lineout on half way Ols launched an up and under and the follow up put the Syston full back under pressure that he knocked the ball into Seager’s hands – he got within 5 yards of the Syston line before offloading to Lewis for the try converted by Taylor for a 15 point lead
From a Syston lineout on the halfway line the home side exploited a gap outside OLs guards to get on the scoresheet with a converted try.
Half time 15-7 to OLs.
This score clearly spurred Syston on as they started the second half really well and quickly made it 15-14 with a catch and drive try. Captain James Melvin was adjudged to have entered a maul from the side and was yellow carded.
Another catch and drive followed which OLs couldn’t stop for a 19-15 lead to Syston.
OLs response with 14 men showed real character as they forced a turnover and launched a series of attacks leading to a penalty 10 yards out form the posts – a quick tap almost led to a try but good defence drove the OLs back but good ball retention led to another penalty this time kicked by Taylor to make it 19-18 with 20 minutes to go.
At this point the game could have gone either way but it was Syston who finished the game stronger, good hands led to an unconverted try in the left corner to make it 24-18 with 10 minutes left.
OLs then had to chase the game and were penalised a couple of times for holding on as they began to tire, the penalties gave Syston territory from which they scored two more tries to give a final score of 36-18.