RUGBY: Old Laurentians

Lawrence Webb presents OLs with their new kit
Lawrence Webb presents OLs with their new kit

Narrow defeat by Silhillians

Midlands One West

Old Laurentians 20

Silhillians 24

This contest between two teams promoted to Midlands 1 this season produced a tight encounter that OLs could have won, writes Bill Wallis. Silhillians started this game like they intended to repeat their seven try romp against Market Bosworth the previous week and cruised into a 17-5 lead inside the first quarter.

But the home side turned the tables completely in the first 20 minutes of the second half and fought back to establish a 20-17 lead going into the final quarter before conceding a try against the run of play which secured the win points for Sils.

Full back Mat Lee set the ball rolling for Sils after six minutes, showing real pace as he ran a kick back for a fine individual try, aided in part by some indifferent tackle attempts.

But three minutes later, OLs hit back with a fine try of their own, Glenn Todd unstoppable as he went over after slick combination play between Ben O’Riordan and Dom Hammond at a lineout. Dan O’Brien’s conversion attempt from wide out just missed.

Sils added a penalty after a laboured attempt by OLs to run the ball out of defence and straight from the re-start they struck again. A sweeping attack finished with their lively number 8 Grant Hill going over, the successful conversion giving the visitors a 17-5 lead after sixteen minutes.

O’Brien pegged them back with a penalty after a long and penetrating run by Owen and half time arrived with Sils holding a well-earned 17-8 lead.

OLs started the second half on the front foot and after winning a lineout in Sils 22, Chris le Poidevin made the first breach before the ball was moved smartly away, Lee Hersey putting skipper Ollie Cowley over in the corner. Again O’Brien’s conversion attempt missed narrowly but OLs were right back in it at 13-17.

The home side took the lead for the first time after Sils were penalised when attacking near OLs 22. Glenn Todd took a quick kick and found Hersey on his shoulder, the wing running strongly to outpace the defence and go over under the posts from 60 metres out. O’Brien added the goal points and OLs were 20-17 ahead.

The match was now evenly poised, and the killer blow came after 25 minutes when OLs won a free kick near Sils 22 and opted for a scrum. The decision was the right one but the execution was poor as Sils disrupted the scrum and flanker Pete Nicholls latched on to the ball and showing considerable pace outstripped a flimsy defensive effort to go over under the posts. With the conversion added, Sils had now restored their lead at 24-20 and there was no further scoring over the remaining fifteen minutes so OLs had to settle for a losing bonus point.

OLs have been forced into constant changes to their line up this season and for this match they fielded a the fifth back row combination in five competitive matches so far, Andy Orbinson and Andy Coleman making their first starts of the campaign. But the rock on which OLs display was based was number 8 Glenn Todd, who was immense throughout. Carrying the ball strongly and putting in some fearsome tackles, he scored a try and created another and was OLs standout performer.

This Saturday, OLs travel to take on Stoke on Trent and will certainly be targeting this match for a win, as the home side currently trail OLs in the table after an indifferent start to the season.

Warwickshire League 1

Old Laurentians 2nd XV 20

Newbold on Avon 2nd XV 5

OLs secured the honours in this local derby and looked to be cruising to an even bigger win when they went 20-0 up in the second half. But a spirited Newbold side fought back strongly in the latter stages to be rewarded with the final score of an entertaining match.

Wing Ted Wallis opened the scoring for OLs when quick ball down the line gave him the chance to go over in the corner. Greg Loydall added the conversion and kicked two penalties to take OLs into half time with a 13-0 lead.

Owen Robinson started and finished OLs second half score, initially breaking from just outside his 22. Newbold held the first thrust and forced a lineout, only for OLs to turn over their possession and move the ball wide, where Wallis switched the ball infield for Robinson to go over.

This was the signal for a Newbold fight back but they were limited to one try, OLs defence thwarting their best efforts.

Greg Loydall returns from leave to the Navy after another good performance, kicking well for 10 points. Paul Lewis put in another fine showing in the second row, centres Ben Shepherd and Matt Cockman ruled midfield and the game saw an OLs debut off the bench for prop Liam Deery.

More of Ray Todd’s pictures in this week’s Advertiser