RUGBY: Great start to season for Old Laurentians juniors

Old Laurentians Under 16s squad
Old Laurentians Under 16s squad

Harsh lesson from Leamington for 2nd XV

Warwickshire League 1

Old Laurentians 2nd XV 8

Leamington 2nd XV 14

Report by David Middleton

OLs welcomed Leamington to Fenley Field for the first league game of the season, fielding on paper what looked to be a very strong side, but the visitors ultimately taught OLs a harsh lesson in how to win tight games.

OLs welcomed back skipper Nick Martin to the side for his first outing of the season and also saw the return of Ollie Jones from injury at 9, with the colonel taking up wing duties after Feeney was injured in the warm up.

As the game kicked off OLs seemed to be still in the dressing room as Leam seized the initiative and used their big forwards to knock huge holes in an uncharacteristically flaky home defence.

Leamington soon registered the first score of the game, bulldozing their way over under the post to make the conversion a formality. It wasn’t long before they doubled that lead in similar fashion and the way OLs were playing it looked like it could be a long afternoon.

OLs did show a couple of moments of positivity in what was a lack lustre first half performance, most notably a nice break from centre Walsh up the far touch line linking well with the colonel, but the Leam defence recovered to snuff out the threat.

OLs were struggling to understand the official’s interpretation of the laws at the breakdown which just further compounded their problems as tempers became frayed, passes didn’t go to hand and poor options were taken time and again.

The second half was a much more positive affair for the men in green and after a sustained period of pressure the Leam defence eventually buckled as the excellent James Harris powered over to register OL’s first score of the game, having played some 60 mins or more.

The conversion fell just short but the large crowd sensed that the game was there for the taking as the visitors looked like a spent force. However, for the second week running OLs failed to find a cutting edge in attack and despite a Ben Roach penalty they never really looked like finding another score; and the game ended with Leamington deserved winners, having taken the chances they created, whilst OLs were left to rue what might have been.

This side has bags of potential but needs to quickly find a killer instinct and learn to manage games and officials much more effectively if they are to fulfil that potential and achieve the goals they have set themselves for this season.

Old Laurentian Juniors

Report by Bill Wallis

OL’s Juniors have started the new season in sparkling form with some big wins and notable successes. For the first time, the teams at Under 14, 15 and 16 are playing some competitive rugby, hitherto having only been involved in friendly fixtures or at Festivals. All three teams have been entered into the Warwickshire Cup for their respective age groups and all three started their campaigns with excellent wins.

For each competition, the teams initially play on a round robin basis in pools of four; then it enters a knockout phase with the top two in each pool playing off for the Cup and the bottom 2 playing off for the Shield, progressing to quarter finals, then semis in January and the finals scheduled for April 2018.

OLs Under 14s started their campaign with a big win against their counterparts from Harbury; and the 15s topped that with an even bigger margin of victory against Broadstreet, both teams passing the 50 point mark in their games.

Having warmed up with good wins against Market Harborough and Newbold, the Under 16s were up against tough opposition in their first pool match when meeting Nuneaton under the floodlights at Fenley Field last Friday. They came through an entertaining and hard fought encounter against a good Nuns side with a 26-0 win during which all their attributes were on display.

Up against a bigger, heavier pack the OL’s eight laid the foundation for the win, dominating their opponents in the tight. Two early tries from Harry Brown and Dan Price set them on their way before Sam McCosker-New added a third before the break, Dan Price converting all three.

Nuneaton came out strongly for the second half to put the home side under heavy pressure for long periods, but OL’s defence was outstanding, with barely a tackle missed, to keep them at bay. OLs finished the game with a beautifully taken try, finished by Josh Greenwood, to secure a notable win. The side play their next pool game against Earlsdon this Sunday and conclude their pool fixtures against Old Leamingtonians in November.