RUGBY: Nine tries in impressive attacking display keeps Old Laurentians in second spot

Ben Roach, Jon Bean and Luke Townsend in OLs last derby with St Andrews. The return is at Fenley Field on March 2
Ben Roach, Jon Bean and Luke Townsend in OLs last derby with St Andrews. The return is at Fenley Field on March 2

Victory for 2nd XV in top-of-the-table game with Southam

Midlands 2 West (South)

Southam 21 - Old Laurentians 59

Report by Bill Wallis

OLs laid on a highly impressive attacking display to score nine tries against a Southam side who, although outgunned for most of this match, stuck at their task gamely to the end and responded with two tries of their own in the final ten minutes.

Southam came close to opening the scoring in the first few minutes, counter attacking strongly when an OL’s attack broke down and sending their scrum half on his way to the line. But Andy Orbinson got across to make a superb covering tackle, the prelude to another fine display by the number eight.

The returning Greg Loydall was the mainspring of OLs’ attacking game, the fly half having struck up a fine rapport with centres Ben Roach and Troy Owen to form a potent midfield trio. With full back Jon Bean looking to join the attack at every opportunity and wings Jordan Bunn and Luke Townsend regularly getting into the action, OLs’ back line together contributed 6 of their side’s tries, profiting from a stream of quality possession from the forwards with scrum half James Collins providing a smooth and seamless link.

Five minutes in, Southam possession was turned over and run straight back at them, Luke Townsend sprinting 40 metres to finish and Bean converting his try. A spell of Southam pressure resulted in two penalties, to leave OLs 7-6 ahead. But from that moment on it was one-way traffic, Jordan Bunn adding two tries in quick succession, the first following quick possession from a lineout engineered by Ben Anderson and Olly Cowley, the second after a strong thrust by Andy Orbinson.

Roach then cashed in on a dropped Southam pass to canter over and half time arrived with OLs 26-6 to the good.

Southam kicked a penalty to score first in the second half but for the next 30 minutes reeled under waves of OLs’ attacks. Bean ran in strongly down the right flank after charges by Cowley and Anderson had been held; then Owen finished off another prolonged attack, Southam running out of defenders as an attack went through multiple phases.

Hammond and Loydall came close to breaching the home defence before James Orbinson crashed over to lift the score to 45-9 with just 15 minutes of the second half gone. Roach’s second try saw the fifty-point barrier passed and it was a question of how many would OLs score with almost 20 minutes to go.

But Southam had other ideas and lifted the siege to hit back with two quick tries of their own as OLs took their feet off the gas, to narrow the margin to 52-21. OLs had the last word, however, and after Dom Hammond took a ball against the head in a scrum on Southam’s 22, the hooker was first up in support of a charge by James Orbinson to slice through at pace and touch down.

Jon Bean’s conversion was his 7th successful kick of the game, the full back finishing with a personal haul of 19 points.

Head Coach Andy Milner and his team would have been delighted with the pace and power of OLs’ attacking game; but, equally, irritated by the concession of two late tries. As the season runs down to its final phase, points difference could have an important part to play in the race for the top two places. League leaders Kenilworth are 8 points clear of OLs in second place, but Kidderminster are just a single point behind them in third.

There is no league action this Saturday, next up being the keenly anticipated return match against local rivals Rugby St Andrews at Fenley Field on 2nd March, kick off reverting to the 3pm slot.

Warwickshire League 1

Old Laurentian 2nd XV 31 – Southam 2nd XV 5

Report by Garrie Reeve

It was a clash of the top two sides in Warwickshire League One when OLs’ 2nds hosted Southam 2nd team. With these sides battling out a draw earlier in the season, a close match looked on the cards but OLs came through with a great win to go top of the league, leapfrogging their opponents.

OLs took the lead after five minutes when Will Adam gathered a kick from Sam White to go over and give his side the perfect start.

For the next 15 minutes it was close as Southam looked to get a foot hold in the match. Then they caught the home defence at sixes and sevens as they went over for an equalising try

OLs responded when a movement involving Paul Lewis, James Melvin and Tim Fokes finished when Richard Hayes sent Ben Shepherd away to score an excellent team try under the posts.

OLs’ pack was now controlling both lineout and scrummage to great effect. Quick lineout ball reached winger David Bunting who kicked through the oncoming defence before gathering his own kick to score a fine solo try, half time arriving with OLs 17-5 up.

The second half was again a tight affair with both sides not giving an inch in defence. Strong running from centre pairing Shepherd and Luke Billyeald and returning No.8 Glenn Todd, gave OLs excellent field position before Todd scored under the posts to leave White an easy conversion.

OLs then suffered 2 yellow cards to leave themselves with 13 men but showed great character to keep Southam at bay, even pushing the Southam scrum backwards.

With ten minutes left, OLs kicked a penalty deep into the Southam 22 and from the resulting lineout drove the Southam pack towards their own line. When the ball was released Billyeald cut through the Southam defence at pace to score OLs’ fifth try of the afternoon, White adding the conversion.

With games in hand against the teams below them, the chances of OLs finishing top of their league come April now looks a realistic outcome, starting with another local derby this Saturday at home against Rugby Lions Crusaders.