RUGBY: Big weekend for Old Laurentians teams

Try scorer Josh Greenwood, playing for OLs Colts last month
Try scorer Josh Greenwood, playing for OLs Colts last month

OLs Phoenix Ladies host first touch league tournament of the season

This weekend both OLs’ 1st and 2nd XVs return to league action against Barkers Butts, 1sts at home, 2nds away. For the 2nds the game could go a long way in deciding whether they can secure the Warwickshire League 1 title; and the 1sts will be looking to cement 2nd place in Midlands 2 West (South).

OLs 2nds captain Sam White scored a try in their friendly with Newbold last weekend

OLs 2nds captain Sam White scored a try in their friendly with Newbold last weekend

OLs Colts have a vital game at the weekend as they look to secure a place in the Warwickshire Colts Cup Final in their semi-final against their strongest county rivals, Old Leamingtonians. A win would take them one step closer to the League and Cup double that they are chasing.

Then, to cap a great weekend of rugby, on Sunday OLs’ Phoenix Ladies will be hosting the first 2019 tournament in the Midlands Ladies Touch League at Fenley Field.

Donna Nobes has taken over the captaincy of Phoenix Ladies and will be looking for a great start to their 2019 season.

Friendly

Newbold-on-Avon 2nd XV 0 Old Laurentian 2nd XV 26

OLs’ 2nd team travelled the short distance to Parkfield Road to play their keen rivals in what was the only senior fixture between the clubs this season, writes Garrie Reeve.

With a few obvious exceptions, both sides fielded many young players, giving both teams an average age easily under 25. This was a chance for both clubs to promote their emerging, youthful talent.

OLs began the game with the wind at their backs, and were soon able to use this to their advantage.

With the ball deep in Newbold territory, OLs’ pressure at the breakdown provided them with an early penalty.

Quick thinking from Dan Price saw the young fly half tap and go, then pass to his fellow colt, Josh Greenwood. With his sights set on the Newbold try line, Greenwood burst through a couple of tackles to score to the right of the posts. Price added the conversion to give OLs a 0–7 lead after only five minutes.

Although OLs had the vast majority of possession and territory for the next 20 minutes, they could not add to their score.

Without their usual firepower in the centre, OLs were finding it hard to break down the stubborn Newbold defence.

Eventually clean lineout possession from the dominant OLs’ pack would give their backs excellent field position to attack.

Taking it upon himself, Price cut inside the onrushing Newbold defence, evading any would be tacklers to race away and score a fine individual try.

Knowing they had to score more points to make the most of their wind advantage. OLs attacked their opponents again.

With their dominant lineout, OLs kicked to the corners at every opportunity and from one of these attacking lineouts, OLs scored their third try.

Captain Sam White cut an excellent inside line off Price to run unchallenged under the posts to give Price the easy conversion.

With the half drawing to a close, OLs were again on the attack. Deep inside the Newbold half, the ball was spun wide right where Greenwood was stopped just short of the line.

Quickly recycled ball was then driven through the scrambling defence by the returning Nick Martin for OLs’ fourth try. With Price unable to add the conversion, OLs entered the break with a 0–26 lead.

Half time saw a reshuffle in the OLs line up. Scrum half Ricky Reed was injured in the build up to the last try and was replaced by debutant Rafa Cruz.

Debuts were also given to Mike Salu and Matt Barnaby as OLs entered the 2nd half with seven colts in their side, all of whom played admirably, belying their lack of senior rugby experience.

With the wind now against them, OLs knew they had to show great determination and commitment in defence to prevent their opponents from scoring. Try as they might, Newbold could not find a way through the resolute OLs defence.

Penalties earned at the breakdown were a chance for relief for OLs. With Newbold getting frustrated at their lack of point scoring, the penalty count against them increased. A kick to touch from one such penalty gave OLs position inside the Newbold 22. However, unlike the first half, OLs failed to score, handling errors and the weather thwarting any chance they had to score again.

With the remainder of the match played in OLs’ half, Newbold chased the game as they strived to get at least one consolation try.

Even when reduced to 14 players, OLs never gave an inch and defended their line manfully. Neither side scored in a second half where chances were few and far between but OLs ability to score from their few clear-cut chances in the first half was the difference in this absorbing contest.