RUGBY: Old Laurentians up to third spot, just two points behind leaders
Bonus-point victory in first ever league meeting with Stewarts & Lloyds
Saturday 11th November 2017
Midlands 2 East (S)
Old Laurentians 36 – Stewarts & Lloyds 8
Report by Bill Wallis
OLs eased to a bonus point victory in this first ever league meeting with Stewarts & Lloyds, having first to subdue determined and spirited resistance from the Corby based team.
Once more, injury and non-availability played havoc with team selection, the shortage of backs resulting in Dom Hammond, one of the team’s mainstays and the regular hooker, playing at centre, where he acquitted himself admirably. It’s a matter for debate whether the front row union will allow him to re-join after such frippery!
OLs started well with a try after just two minutes when slick passing along the line gave Ben Scott the space he needed to get over on the left and an early 5-0 lead.
S & L’s response was rapid when they kicked a penalty, following that up after 16 minutes with a well taken try to take the lead at 8-5. They were enjoying a pronounced territorial advantage during this spell and OLs were forced to defend, hardly breaking out of their own half, their kicking game rarely finding space and conceding penalties regularly.
Against the run of play OLs scored after 20 minutes when a forceful John Barratt charge set up the position from which Andy Orbinson was able to drive through a retreating defence to go over, Sam White adding the goal points to restore OL’s lead at 12-8.
An improved spell from the home side led to a further score as the half ran down, strong carries by Ash Moore and Charlie Seager fragmenting S & L’s defence and creating space which Troy Owen exploited to slice through and touch down. White improved the try and OLs were enjoying a comfortable 19-8 lead at the break.
The first 20 minutes of the second half saw the pattern of the first largely repeated. S & L’s pack were ensuring a regular supply of possession for their team but OLs defence was not yielding and their opponents were unable to create any scoring chances.
In the final quarter OLs took the game over as S & L tired. Two gilt edged try scoring opportunities were spurned when the final pass went astray, but OLs finished in a rush with three well taken tries. Number 8 Andy Orbinson went over for his second of the day after another of Ash Moore’s strong carries set up the position, Orbinson picking up from the base of a scrum to go over from 10 metres out.
Moore then made a superbly athletic catch from the re-start kick to breach the first line of defence with another strong run, James Orbinson continued the move and fed John Barratt some 20 metres out. OL’s hooker brushed off several would-be tacklers as he charged over for a fine try and White converted for 31-8.
OL’s stand out player this season so far has been centre Troy Owen and he ran unstoppably to record his second and his team’s sixth try of the afternoon in the dying minutes.
This win lifts OLs into 3rd position in the league, just 2 points behind leaders Luton, and maintained their record of earning a try bonus point in every league game so far, a record equalled only by Oadby Wyggestonians, who are just 1 point ahead in 2nd spot.
With no league action this weekend, there is now some breathing space for OL’s list of injury casualties to recover in time for the clash with Belgrave on the25th.
Warwickshire 2nd XV Shield
Old Laurentians 2nd XV 7 - Kenilworth 62
OL’s 2nds were dumped unceremoniously out of the Warwickshire Shield by a Kenilworth side who employed a simple but effective game plan with ruthless efficiency and to devastating effect, handing out a 10 try thrashing to the home side.
OLs had been without a fixture for a couple of weeks due to late opposition cry offs but fielded a strong looking side on paper with a good mix of youth and experience up front and the returning Jon Bean at 10 to marshal a relatively inexperienced back line.
For the opening 20 minutes it was hard to remember an OLs player touching the ball as Kenilworth tore them apart, scoring 3 tries with 2 converted.
OLs could not be faulted for effort but application on this day was sadly missing as tackle after tackle was missed and on the rare occasion they had the ball the options selected were poor.
Kenilworth ended the half with 5 tries and 4 conversions as they used there excellent forward pack to splinter the lack lustre OL’s defence and a smokey back line to rub salt into the wounds.
OL’s one moment of hope came after some 30 minutes when ‘Mad’ Jonny Martin took off, only to be hauled down inside the 22 and the chance was lost.
The opening 10 mins of the second half were more promising for OLs as they took the game to the visitors but they failed to make an impact on the score board, and inevitably Kenilworth continued to exploit the unwillingness to make a tackle.
Kenilworth scored a further five second half tries but sandwiched in between was OLs only score of the day when Jon Bean took a quick tap penalty to scoot over, converting his own try.
The visitors cruised to a comfortable victory which must have seemed more like a training exercise than a competitive fixture.
This was a bitterly disappointing result for OLs but perhaps more worryingly was the lack of desire. It will take a big effort to pick themselves up but that they must do as they travel to Parkfield Road this week to take on local rivals Newbold in the first round of this season’s Clonmell Cup.
OL’s Junior sides at Under 14, 15 and 16 levels are each involved in the Warwickshire Cup for their respective age groups and all seem likely to reach the knockout stages as they complete the pool stages of the competitions.
Pride of place goes to the Under 14s who were matched against Nuneaton, joint leaders with them in their pool. OLs lads now progress to the quarter finals, and a home draw, after an excellent 31-0 away win against a much bigger Nuns outfit which confirmed their position as group winners.
The Under 15s suffered their first defeat in the competition when going down 10-27 to Kenilworth and are likely to finish in 2nd place in their pool and also progress to the knockout stages.
The Under 16s were also beaten for the first time in a very tight match against Old Leamingtonians, losing out by the narrow margin of 19-24 but will also be in the quarter finals, probably placed 2nd in their pool.
With the club’s Under 13 squad in fine form and racking up some big wins recently in friendlies, the Junior section at OLs is in robust health.