RUGBY: Old Laurentians' best performance of season so far earns win over Barkers Butts
Earlsdon away this weekend
Midlands 2 West (South)
Old Laurentians 28
Barkers Butts 19
The scoreboard appeared to show a close match at the end, but OLs had dominated for almost all of it, Barkers Butts snatching two late tries as the home side were guilty of taking a collective foot off the gas in the closing stages, writes Bill Wallis.
Barkers had posted large scores in the last two encounters between the sides but they were on the back foot in this one from the off, OLs attacking with a vigour and tempo that rocked them back.
Dominant in the set pieces and scavenging hungrily in the loose, OLs showed their intent from the first whistle. The back row of skipper James Orbinson, brother Andy and Matt O’Connor led the charge and each claimed a try.
Inside five minutes, OLs pack heaved the Barkers’ pack backwards in a driving maul that covered 20 metres to earn a penalty. This found touch inside Barkers’ 22, lineout possession was won and some sharp handling was finished by Matt O’Connor who powered over for a try and a 5-0 lead.
OLs continued to dominate play and when Barkers did make ground into OLs half outstanding defence kept them at bay, Cameron Buxton, Jon Bean and Dan Price putting in some vital tackles.
On the 20 minute mark a finely judged kick down the left hand touchline by Ben Roach was gathered by Dom Hammond and he found Buxton, who darted over in the corner for 10-0, quickly followed by a Price penalty as OLs continued to pile on the pressure.
With 30 minutes gone a deft kick by James Collins was chased down by Buxton but rolled into touch in Barkers 22 before he could gather it. James Orbinson snaffled Barkers’ throw at the lineout and nothing was going to stop him as crashed through to score from 20 metres out, Price adding the goal points.
Simon Lawler’s brilliant new electronic scoreboard, glowing ever more brightly in the gathering gloom, was showing 20-0 and 30 minutes.
Barkers won a rare position with a lineout in the home 22, won quick possession and moved the ball well to pierce OLs defence to score, the conversion signalling the half time break with the home side 20-7 ahead.
OLs continued to dominate play and were rewarded with a Bean penalty after 20 minutes for 23-7.
Barkers hit back when they seized upon a rare OLs handling error to capitalise with a try for 23-12. But OLs went back on to the attack, winning a penalty that was kicked into the corner. At the lineout Andy Orbinson peeled round from the back to take the ball and crash over, a beautifully worked try that lifted the score to 28-12.
With full time rapidly approaching, OLs were penalised in their half, the referee marched them back 10 metres for dissent and Barkers were quick to take advantage, running in under the posts and converting their try for the game’s final score.
This was probably OL’s best performance in a season that, so far, has been disappointing. Next up is an away game at Earlsdon, never an easy side to beat on their home turf.