Action shots from OLs’ great win over Old Scouts
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midland 1 East
Old Laurentians 30
Northampton Old Scouts 13
OLs chalked up their best win of the season when scoring five tries in a fine performance against Old Scouts, comprehensively reversing the 28-3 defeat suffered in the away fixture last November, writes Bill Wallis.
Although OLs enjoyed the greater share of possession and territory in the first half, the scores were tied 8-8 at the break. But in the second 40, a re-shuffle of personnel and positions saw the home side playing some impressive rugby to stretch away to a 30-8 lead before the visitors got one back in added time at the end.
At the core of this success was an impressive display by OLs’ pack. The front row of Kieran McArdle, Dom Hammond and Daz Dean had the edge in the tight from the off and carried strongly, none more so than McArdle, who terrorised Scouts throughout with his awesome running. Ben Anderson and Robin Corrigan ruled the lineout and the back row unit tackled and carried relentlessly.
In the opening exchanges Old Scouts backs showed their paces, making it clear that alert defence would be needed to keep them at bay, but OLs soon began to gain the upper hand and take the game to their opponents.
With nine minutes gone, excellent approach work by centres Ben Wiles and Troy Owen, carried on skilfully by Dom Hammond, created the position from which Kieran McArdle crashed over for the first try.
OLs stayed on the offensive and after Owen was held just short of the line after a strong run, Wiles put over a penalty for 8-0 with 20 minutes gone.
As half time approached, Old Scouts responded when fly half Adam Frost put in a finely measured kick towards the right hand touch line and winger George Barrett took it on the full to go over near the corner. Frost missed the conversion, but followed up with a penalty to level the scores at the break.
In the final minutes of the first half, scrum half Ricky Reed took a knock and left the field after another doughty performance, Jon Bean coming on from the bench for his first action after returning to the club. In a positional re-shuffle, he went to fly half, allowing Grant Inch to return to his favoured position of full back and Richard Parker to move up to scrum half to replace Reed.
The changes brought about a noticeable shift in the dynamics of the team, who went on to dominate the second 40 and add four more tries.
With four minutes gone and after a lineout close to Scouts line, a hurried clearance kick was charged down by Mark Todd and Ben Anderson was quickest to the loose ball to touch down for a try and a 13-8 lead.
Then McArdle set off on a buccaneering run, shrugging off several would be tacklers and denting others. He was finally held short of the line and from the following play OLs won a penalty, planted into the corner by Bean. A catch and drive at the lineout led to Glenn Todd going over to lift OL’s lead to 18-8 after 20 minutes of the half.
Three minutes later came a fine team try. Again McArdle was involved early in the movement and Orbinson and Hammond carried it on before Owen was held in Scouts 22. Quickly recycled possession was moved right to give Ben Scott the yard of space he needed and the wing weaved over for the try that hoisted OLs’ lead to 23-8 and earned a bonus point.
This was followed five minutes later by another fluent passage of play, OLs going through the phases to open up Scouts’ defence for Richard Parker to go over, Bean’s conversion finding the target to lift the lead to 30-8.
In the final minutes, Scouts mounted a spirited rally, and got over the line for a try in added time that their efforts had earned.
This Saturday sees Wellingborough visit Fenley Field and OLs will be looking to reverse the heavy defeat suffered in the away game in November. On this form OLs have an excellent chance to lift themselves off the bottom of the table for the first time this season, as their closest rivals all have tough looking fixtures.