RUGBY: Old Laurentians

OLs U15s against Towcestrians, with skipper no.8 Matthew O'Connor in blue head protector
OLs U15s against Towcestrians, with skipper no.8 Matthew O'Connor in blue head protector

Under 15s win ideal antidote to seniors’ defeat

Midlands 2 East (South)

Stamford 47

Old Laurentians 12

OLs will be glad that they don’t have to visit the east of England again this season as their two recent trips to clubs in that area have resulted in comprehensive defeats.

This time is was at the hands of a fired-up Stamford side who rocked the visitors back on their heels and had the game won and a bonus point in the bag with just 20 minutes played, writes Bill Wallis.

Stamford had first use of a pronounced slope and their mobile and aggressive pack immediately took the game to OLs, driving over from a lineout for their first try inside three minutes.

OLs’ defensive alignment was exposed when twice the home side put their pacey full back away towards the line, but twice Jordan Bunn showed his pace in getting back to make the tackle, the lineout following the second yielding another try for Stamford.

Stamford used their forward power to create and finish two further tries and establish a 22-0 lead before OLs seriously threatened their line.

Then, with 20 minutes gone, a passage of sustained attacking by OLs created an opportunity for James Orbinson to go over and record his fifth try of the season.

Stamford bounced straight back to add a further try to their tally and stretch their lead out to 27-5 before, as half time approached, OLs reacted positively with a series of attacks which finished with a shrewd pass from fly half Ben Roach and Ben Wiles sliced through the home defence for a fine try under the posts.

Roach converted and the interval arrived with Stamford enjoying a comfortable 27-12 lead.

The injury problems that have blighted OLs’ season struck again early in the second half and within 10 minutes of the re-start four players were forced off.

A wholesale re-shuffle saw Charlie Seager moving first from wing to back row before having to play out the final 30 minutes in the second row.

Up against it with a full side in the first half, OLs’ chances of getting anything out of this game evaporated with just 14 men in the second, although the seven-man pack raised their game collectively to challenge Stamford’s earlier dominance up front, Mark Todd prominent with a couple of strong turnovers.

There were good moments, one sparkling break by James Collins taking him deep into Stamford territory and centre Troy Owen tested the home side’s midfield defence, getting over the gain line regularly.

The home side ran in four second-half tries to complete a comprehensive victory and in the process to leap frog OLs in the league table and go up to second place, now two points ahead of the Fenley Field side.

On Saturday OLs hold their annual Vice Presidents lunch, to be followed by the league game against Belgrave, ko 3pm.

U15s: Old Laurentian 19

Towcestrians 7

The ideal antidote to an otherwise poor weekend for OLs’ senior teams was a visit to Fenley Field on Sunday morning to watch the future of the club in action when the club’s exciting and talented Under 15 squad entertained their counterparts from Towcestrians.

OLs boast an under 15 squad of some 30 players and they maintained their unbeaten record for the season with this win, having suffered just one loss as Under 14s last term; and many of them have come right through the teams from the mini section when it was first established just eight years ago.

A good crowd was entertained to a match of high endeavour and skill, a very useful Tows side giving OLs’ credentials a searching examination throughout.

The visitors’ pack contested the set pieces very effectively and OLs had to work hard up front to ensure parity in the set scrums.

But when the ball was loose they fought like tigers to win and retain possession, driven on by skipper and number 8 Matthew O’Connor, ensuring that their pacey back line had plenty of ball to play with and they looked very impressive in attack.

OLs defensive skills were also thoroughly tested by a Tows side who had several spells of heavy pressure on the home side’s line; but they were kept at bay until the last play of the match, when Tows went over for a hard earned and well deserved try.

OLs scored two tries in the first half to lead 12-0 at the break. Harry Spears, a constant danger when coming into the line from full back, scored the first from inside his own half when his elusive running and blistering pace was too much for Tows.

Cameron Buxton on OLs’ right wing also threatened every time he had the ball and scored his side’s second try when he pounced on a loose ball in Tows 22.

Spears added another fine try in the second half to seal the win, centre and midfield general Danny Price converting two of OLs touch downs.

Coach Dan Volkman, who has steered this squad right through the age groups, found himself pitched against a Towcestrians coach, Danny Bevan, who was also an OLs 1st team stalwart in his playing days.

Both have every reason to be proud of the squads they manage.