Confidence boosting friendly win for 2nds against Kenilworth, while 1sts beat Oadby in dying seconds
Midlands 2 East (South)
Old Laurentians 29 Oadby Wyggestonians 27
The action was sustained for every minute of this terrific match, from OL’s opening try inside the first 30 seconds to the penalty goal that won the match in its dying seconds, writes Bill Wallis.
After OLs rocketed into a 19-0 lead inside six minutes and had extended that to 26-10 soon after the half hour mark, Oadby Wyggestonians fought back superbly to take a 27-26 lead with 30 minutes of the second half gone, before Ben Roach kicked the winning penalty and the referee blew for time.
What may have been the quickest try ever in a game at Fenley Field was scored by Troy Owen, the centre charging down an attempted clearance straight from kick off and touching down under the posts, Ben Roach converting. From the re-start, the ball reached Roach and his steepling kick ahead was cleanly gathered by Owen, who sent Tom Waterkeyn away to score just 1 minute and 30 seconds into his 1st XV debut.
With barely five minutes on the clock, OLs won a scrum on halfway, Roach dummied to Richard Parker and fed Jordan Bunn cutting inside from his right wing berth. Bunn sliced through the defence at pace from 40 metres out to score a fine try, Roach adding the goal points to improve the lead to 19-0.
Oadby are too good a side not to respond and they worked their way into the game. With 11 minutes gone, they drove over for a try from a lineout which was well converted from wide out by scrum half Elliott. The same player then kicked a penalty to reduce the deficit to 19-10.
But it was OLs who struck next. The ball reached Owen on the left, the centre made a slashing break out wide before finding left wing Luke Townsend, whose pace took him clear of the defence to touch down under the posts for OL’s bonus point try. Roach converted, and OLs were 26-10 to the good with just seven minutes to go to the break.
But Oadby Wyggs reacted positively, went on to the offensive and crossed for two tries before half time. One was converted and the break was reached with the match finely poised, OLs holding a now slender 26-22 lead.
After the break, the visitors continued in the same vein as they had finished the first half, OLs showing little of the coherence and attacking verve that had been on display earlier. So it came as no surprise when Oadby Wyggs took the lead for the first time, outflanking OL’s hesitant defence to score a good try. Crucially the conversion was missed so there was just one point in it at 26-27.
This spurred OLs into action and they went back on to the offensive for the remaining ten minutes of the game, OWs forced to defend and beginning to concede penalties. From one penalty wide out on the right, Roach’s kick bounced back into play off a post. Then deep into injury time OLs won a crucial scrum against the head in the visitors’ 22 and a penalty was conceded right in front of the posts as OLs attacked. Roach nervelessly potted it, the final whistle sounded and the 5 points were finally secured.
There were some notable individual performances in what was ultimately a hard earned win. Tom Waterkeyn scored a try in a polished debut for the team, Luke Townsend scored a beauty on just his second appearance and second row James Harris, starting for just the third time, showed again that he is quite at home in this company.
The outstanding performance on the day came from the ever consistent Troy Owen. He scored one try, set up two others, constantly troubled the visitors’ defence with his strong running and was outstanding in defence. But pushing him hard for man of the match honours was veteran prop Ray Smith. Ray gets called up into the 1st team squad about once every five years and on this occasion probably expected to get off the bench for the last 20 minutes or so. But Olly Cowley’s early injury meant that he was on for more than an hour and made his presence felt in both scrum and at the breakdown in a trademark performance of strength and guile.
Kenilworth 2nd XV 10 Old Laurentian 2nd XV 33
Saturday afternoon saw a reshuffled OL’s 2nd team make the trip to Kenilworth for the first of two matches in consecutive weeks, writes Garrie Reeve.
Unfortunately for OLs they started the match in a similar fashion to the previous week and conceded an early unconverted try after sustained Kenilworth pressure. However, unlike last week, OLs reacted positively. With the experience of the returning Ben Shepherd, OLs took the game to Kenilworth and after the aforementioned Shepherd broke through a few despairing tackles before he was stopped just short of the line, James Melvin was on hand to quickly pick up from the resulting ruck to score a rare try under the posts, converted for a 7-5 lead.
The direct play of OLs was becoming a problem for the Kenilworth defence with fine interchanging of passes between forwards and backs. Two tries were scored in a ten minute period by Sam Miles and young fly half Campbell Howell, making it 19-5 at half time.
The second half began well for OLs and Ben Shepherd was rewarded for his fine performance with a try converted by Sam White.
This seemed to spur Kenilworth back into life and for the next ten minutes they piled on the pressure. Infringements inside their own 22 resulted in both OL’s flankers being sin binned. However, even with 13 men, OLs defended their line heroically and kept the Kenilworth attack at bay, only conceding when both sin binned players returned to the field of play.
The last part of the game belonged to OLs. Their direct running producing a couple of try scoring opportunities, one was disallowed for a forward pass and the other was fortuitously taken by Paul Lewis.
Sam White added the extras to end a fine kicking display, succeeding with 4 out of 5 attempts, and making the final score a morale boosting 33 - 10 to OLs.
Old Laurentian Juniors
OL’s Under 14s were in action on Sunday playing in the Warwickshire U14 Cup. Having beaten Harbury by a large margin in the first of their pool games, they met Kenilworth in the second. A thumping 52-0 win means that they have already qualified for the knockout stage of this competition and their next pool game, against Nuneaton in November, will decide who tops the group.
The Under 15s were also winners in their pool, beating Barkers Butts by 34-5 to chalk up their second win. So up to the weekend OL’s junior sides had recorded five wins from five in the Warwickshire Cup, scoring a large number of points overall and conceding just 10 in games played so far.
Meanwhile OL’s Under 16s were scheduled to play their second pool game in their Warwickshire Cup age group, against Earlsdon under lights on Tuesday of this week.