RUGBY PICTURES: Old Laurentians beat Silhillians 18-17 with result in doubt right up to final whistle
Pictures by Mike Baker
Midlands 2 West South
Old Laurentians 18 – Silhillians 17
Report by Bill Wallis
The score line tells you everything you need to know about this match. After scoring first OLs were never headed, but a tenacious and competitive Silhillians side kept coming back at them every time the home side edged ahead, and the result was in doubt right up to the final whistle.
OLs had a distinct edge in the set scrums whilst Sils lineout was the most effective of the two; and the respective defences largely blunted the other’s attacking intentions, so tries were hard to come by, the final tally limited to two apiece.
Hooker Dom Hammond added to his growing seasonal try tally after a good take at a close in lineout by Jordi Pocknell, Dan Price putting over the conversion for a 7-0 lead after just 6 minutes play.
Sils got one back after 14 minutes when some heavy pressure on OL’s line brought a try, the conversion levelled the scores and it stayed that way until half time.
OLs started the second half on the front foot and Dan Price’s penalty put them ahead some 8 minutes in before strong pressure on a Sils attack forced a careless pass which Jordan Bunn intercepted to run 50 metres to score. The conversion missed but OLs were now in the box seat with a 15-7 lead.
For once OLs defence went missing when Sils ran a kick back and outflanked the cover to run in for a try, the conversion narrowing OLs margin to a single point at 15-14. A finely struck penalty by Price improved OL’s lead to 18-14; but again, Sils countered, with a penalty of their own, to set up a tense finish.
OLs knew that the slightest slip could cost them the game, but their discipline held to keep Sils at bay over the remaining minutes and claim the win that moves them back up to 5th in the league table, ending a run of three successive defeats.
With his second penalty Dan Price passed 100 points for the season in just 10 games, a fine achievement for an 18-year-old in his first full season of senior rugby. But it’s not just from the boot that his scores have come as he has also crossed for 5 tries in that total. And it was another 18 year old, flank forward Matt O’Connor, who claimed the man of the match award for OLs with a relentless display of destructive tackling.
With some winnable games to come, starting at Southam this Saturday, OLs should be able to consolidate their league position before they finish with games against 2 of the top 3 clubs that could have a bearing on the final outcome of the league championship.