Fenley Field side prepare with single-point victory at Evesham
Friendly: Evesham 2nd XV 32 Old Laurentian 2nd XV 33
The only senior team in action last weekend, OLs’ second team made the long journey to Evesham for a return fixture, having won the previous fixture back in November, writes Garrie Reeve.
Although both sides were intent on playing running rugby, the first 15 minutes of this encounter were played between the 22s. It wasn’t until the 17th minute that OL’s broke the deadlock with a try from club captain, Charlie Seager. Seager, making a guest appearance in the centre, finished off fine support play to score under the posts. Kev White converted to make the score 0–7.
OLs added a second try on the half hour mark after a penalty award. Spotting an opportunity, the ball was tapped quickly by Jordan Bunn, who raced away to the try line from 40 metres out.
By now OLs were taking advantage of having the wind behind them, playing most of the rugby inside the Evesham half and a third try on the stroke of half time was scored by number 8 Tom Hill, to leave the half time score 0 – 17.
Evesham started the second half on the front foot, scoring a try after two minutes when a lapse in concentration saw their fly half waltz through a sleeping OLs’ defence.
OLs were keen to make amends for their poor start to the half and kicked a penalty to the corner for an attacking lineout, pressurising the Evesham defence with a series of forward drives, and Gary Hammond crashed over from close range to restore the lead to 15 points.
This score seemed to open up the flood gates as both sides shared five tries in the next 20 minutes. Poor tackling allowed Evesham to score two quick tries either side of a penalty to tie the scores at 22 each.
Battling uphill and against the wind, OLs were quick to reply. Powerful running and support play from Seager and Bunn saw OLs gain a foothold deep in Evesham territory. Where, a penalty was earned from a high tackle. White, kicking into what seemed like a whirlwind, converted the penalty to put OLs three points ahead going into the final quarter of the game.
Again, lapses in concentration and poor tackling saw Evesham score two, crucially un-converted tries to build a seven-point lead over their opponents.
With only ten minutes remaining, OLs wasted no time in replying to the final Evesham try. Within a couple of minutes, the home side’s lead was cut to two when Bunn added his second try in similar fashion to his first. Again, strong winds prevented White kicking the extra points to leave OLs trailing at 30-32
Again, OLs forced their way into the Evesham 22 and were awarded a penalty. Opting for the shot at goal, White held his nerve to slot the kick between the posts and give OLs a 32 – 33 lead.
Then an indiscretion by the over eager OLs’ defence led to an Evesham penalty being awarded 36 metres out. With the wind in assistance, the Evesham fly half kicked towards goal only for the ball to drift to the right of the uprights and the final whistle blew to signal a hard fought OLs’ win.
OLs return to league action this weekend at home to top of the table Southam. With OLs in second place and with games in hand over their rivals this will be a crucial game in their quest to finish top of their league.