Midlands Intermediate Cup
Old Laurentians 27
Huntingdon & District 14
Huntingdon arrived at Fenley Field with a 100% win record in all games this season and left with it in pieces after a hard fought encounter that saw OLs progress to the semi-final of the Intermediate Cup in the Midlands, writes Bill Wallis.
The visitors enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and territory in the first half but, as has been the case on a number of occasions this season, OLs came good in the second period to finish strongly and record an ultimately comfortable victory.
OLs struck first with just three minutes on the clock after winning a lineout on the Huntingdon 22 and setting up a well-controlled and unstoppable rolling maul that went all the way to the line for James Orbinson to claim the try.
This signalled a period of heavy pressure from the visitors when OLs proved that strong defence can win games. With their outstanding back row of James Orbinson, Glenn Todd and acting skipper Carl Adams to the fore, supported by a strong and mobile front five, in which Cain Jones had an impressive game on his first start for the team, OLs tackling was fierce and conclusive, denying the visitors a sight of the line.
But they finally breached the defensive line after 23 minutes, driving over for a try from a close in lineout to level the scores at 5-5. Then on 30 minutes, OLs demonstrated how to turn defence into attack when Huntingdon were awarded a scrum on the home 22.
Their number 8 attempted a pick up but was stopped in his tracks by a Todd tackle, the next man up was buried by Adams and Orbinson stole the ball to set up a counter attack. The ball reached Simon Bayliss on the left, he kicked ahead deep into enemy territory and the catcher was collared and robbed of the ball, which was quickly recycled to the right where Ben Nuttall finished the attack which had covered 80 metres with the touch down, Bean converting for a 12-5 lead which stayed that way to the half time break.
Huntingdon’s fly half Dan Malem then proceeded to kick three penalties in the space of 15 minutes to give his side the lead for the first time at 12-14, aided by OLs indiscipline and while Orbinson was in the sin bin after a somewhat harsh yellow card. But after Bean had responded with a penalty to restore OLs lead at 15-14, the home side never looked back.
From this point on OLs took over, bringing their backs into play far more regularly and effectively. On 30 minutes, Adams picked up at a scrum in the Huntingdon 22 and drove the ball on before James Collins long pass sent his backs away, Ben Wiles arriving in the line from full back to send Simon Bayliss over for a try that lifted the lead to 20-14. As full time neared, OLs were awarded a penalty on the left of their own 22, Bean looked up to see space on the wide right and Lee Hersey calling for the ball.
Bean put in an inch perfect kick that Hersey fielded at pace and made a lot of ground before offloading to the supporting Orbinson, who found Iain Wallis coming up on his outside.
The centre went over in the corner to round off another long range attack, Bean’s fine conversion from wide completing the scoring.
n Banbury are the visitors to Fenley Field this Saturday for a league match, ko 2.15pm. The visitors will be buoyed by their surprise win over Newbold recently and will clearly be looking to follow up with a result over the league leaders.