Enjoy some more of Mike Baker’s great action shots
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midlands 1 East
Old Laurentians 14
OLs missed an opportunity to climb off the bottom of the table when falling to a useful Bugbrooke side at Fenley Field on Saturday, writes Bill Wallis.
In a hard fought encounter, the visitors did enough to earn the win points, shading the contest by three tries to two.
Yet again OLs were forced to make late changes to their original selection, leading to another new half back combination when Ollie Jones teamed up with Ryan Cleaver.
Leigh Fisher came into the front row and prop Wayne Oliver came in on the bench, seeing action in just his second game back after a lengthy injury lay-off when skipper Olly Cowley was injured.
Just three minutes into the game, Bugbrooke worked their dangerous right wing away from deep in their own half and his pace left defenders in his wake as he ran 60 metres for a fine try, converted for a 7-0 lead.
Now alive to the danger posed by the visitors’ backline, OLs tightened up their defence to keep their opponents in check.
But with the strong wind at their backs they created few scoring opportunities of their own, failing to bring wings Jordan Bunn and Ben Scott into the game more than fleetingly.
On the stroke of half time OLs did finish off a spell of sustained attack and lock Paul Willis was on hand to finish off a powerful drive for the line. Ben Wiles converted his try and the break arrived with the sides all square at 7-7.
Bugbrooke took the lead with a penalty after eight minutes of the second half and the for next 20 minutes neither side could establish any real advantage.
But then the referee showed a highly contentious red card to OLs’ centre Charlie Seager and the initiative swung back to Bugbrooke.
After a lineout throw of dubious quality, Bugbrooke took advantage of OLs’ undermanned midfield defence to go over for a try, stretching their advantage to 7-17.
They clinched their win when awarded a penalty try as OLs struggled to hold a powerful scrum drive from five metres out, the conversion leaving them comfortably in control at 7-24 with just a couple of minutes to go.
But OLs hit back with a series of powerful carries, Dom Hammond, James Orbinson and Ben Wiles all involved, before Cain Jones set off a final attack that ended with Hammond putting Glenn Todd over for a fine team try. Ben Wiles added the goal points to restore some balance to the final scoreline.
This match marked the halfway point in the league season and the visit to Huntingdon & District this Saturday is the first of the reverse fixtures.
In the corresponding fixture at Fenley Field in September, an injury ravaged OLs team held their opponents for large parts of the game, eventually succumbing to a flurry of late tries.
There remains hope for OLs as long as their nearest rivals continue to lose as well, and three of the four sides above OLs in the table have yet to visit Fenley Field. But an away win this Saturday would be a welcome tonic!
Team: Richard Parker, Jordan Bunn, Charlie Seager, Ben Wiles, Ben Scott; Ryan Cleaver, Ollie Jones, Olly Cowley, Dom Hammond, Leigh Fisher, Ben Anderson, Paul Willis, James Orbinson, Mark Todd, Glenn Todd.
Replacements (all used): Wayne Oliver, Paul Lewis, Cain Jones