Hat-trick of tries for Martin Wood in 56-28 victory
PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS
Midlands 1 East: Olney 28 Rugby Lions 56
After last week’s disappointing result, Rugby Lion’s returned to winning ways with a spirited performance in sweltering heat at Olney, writes Dave Rushall.
Straight from the off Lions were clearly up for the battle, and with less than two minutes on the clock, a powerful drive by the pack resulted in Ben Nuttall charging forward before slipping the ball to Josh Lockley who dotted the ball down in the right hand corner.
Kris McFedries slotted a penalty from in front of the uprights following more strong runs and good handling by the visitors. A storming break by Martin Wood from deep got over the half way line before feeding Mike Howe who completed the score in style.
The home side responded well and soon reduced the arrears when their flanker strolled over the line unopposed from a ruck 10 metres out. A McFedries penalty, awarded for offside, increased the Lion’s lead to 7-16 on 22 minutes. A series of powerful breaks with some great support play was spoiled somewhat when the ball was lost forward fifteen metres out. Lion’s pack was well on top in the set piece, however, and this was highlighted when they pushed Olney off their own ball and drove over the line for a pushover try, Martin Wood claiming the score. The conversion was successful to put the visitors further ahead.
Rugby appear to have developed a habit of letting restarts bounce, and this put them under pressure straight away, and Olney’s lively backs managed to create a gap for another converted try to keep them in the contest. The half ended with Rugby leading by 14-23.
The second period began with Rugby slightly off the pace until a lovely kick ahead by Phil Read put the home side under severe pressure. A desperate clearance kick only reached the arms of Callum Forsyth who set off on a mazy run for the line. He was only halted by a player in an offside position, and a quick tap kick from ten metres out resulted in an excellent opportunist try which secured the try bonus point for the Lions. A repeat performance from Lion’s impressive scrum half, this time from nearly thirty metres out following an offence at a ruck, increased Rugby’s advantage to twenty one points.
Lion’s pack again showed their dominance with Olney conceding three penalties in quick succession in attempting to halt their progress five metres from the line. Rugby opted for the scrum and a second push-over try for Martin Wood was converted superbly by McFedries from wide out.
That man Callum Forsyth was soon back in action, receiving a tap down from a line-out ten metres inside Olney’s half. He set off at a rate of knots with the opposition unable to lay a hand on him and he gleefully touched down under the posts. The conversion made the score 14-49 and the victory was secure.
To their credit, Olney kept going, and scored a converted try to reduce the deficit. Lions were not finished, however, and Martin Wood added to his two push-over tries with a score from thirty five metres out, converted by McFedries. With the last play of the game, Olney managed to secure their fourth try and claim a try bonus point of their own.
Next week the Lions welcome Oundle to Webb Ellis Road for a 3pm kick off.