Action from Fenley Field on Saturday
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midlands 2 East (South)
Old Laurentians 54 Stamford 5
OLs cruised to an eight-try win against a Stamford side who were shut out for long periods and with a 32-0 lead on the scoreboard the game was over as a contest by the half hour mark, writes Bill Wallis.
Although the visitors did gain a foothold in the later stages, OLs added four more second-half tries to complete the job.
Sam White gave OLs the lead with an early penalty as OLs camped in the Stamford 22 and strong running from Ben Roach was making dents in the visitors’ defence.
From one such run, the ball was moved quickly away from the tackle area, Robbie Bunn entered the line from full back to deliver a scoring pass to his brother Jordan and the wing touched down under the posts, White adding the goal points for 10-0.
Second team skipper Nick Martin was a late replacement for the injured James Orbinson on the flank and was just held near the line after a strong run down the left. But he wasn’t to be denied after 17 minutes when he completed a forward drive to touch down and lift the lead to 15-0, followed by a penalty from White to increase the margin to 18-0.
On a rare excursion into OL’s half, Stamford possession was turned over and fly half Jon Bean took the ball going right before lifting a finely judged kick back towards the left-hand touch line where Ben Scott took it at full pace and crossed under the posts, White improving his try for a 25-0 lead.
Stamford began to work their way into the game, using their big forwards to try and batter through but found OL’s defence in determined mood.
One attack near OL’s 22 was stopped by Ben Roach who robbed his man in the tackle then looked up to spot acres of space ahead of him and put in a long, low kick into the vacant area. Jordan Bunn’s pace took him clear of the covering defence and he gathered the rolling ball before crossing for his second try, White adding the goal points for 32-0.
Stamford’s endeavours reaped some reward when they drove over OL’s line from a close in lineout to claim a try on the stroke of half time for a 32-5 scoreline at the break.
Ten minutes into the second half, Charlie Seager sashayed through the Stamford defence, Nick Martin hacked on a loose ball and Andy Orbinson followed up at pace to claim the touch down, White’s conversion attempt just faded away but OLs had a 37-5 lead.
On the 20 minute mark Stamford had the put in at a scrum on their 22 and were driven off the ball by OLs, Orbinson picked up at the base and when he was held the ball was moved smartly out to Richard Parker, who spotted half a gap and powered through to cross at the posts, White converted and OLs were 44-5 to the good.
Stamford went on to the offensive and aided by OLs conceding a couple of penalties had a lineout close to the home line, but Orbinson claimed the ball at the back and surged away with it.
Hooker Dom Hammond then broke every rule in the front row union manual and took a perfect line to slice through the defence in a 30 metre break, the ball went right and when it was switched infield it was Orbinson who arrived on the scene to finish with a try what he had started 90 metres back.
Ben Roach had already left his mark on the match and underlined it when he combined power and guile to stride through the Stamford defence for the final try in the dying minutes.
Ben Anderson and Chris le Poidevin led a strong forward display, and the pack provided a plentiful supply of quality possession for their half backs to run the show, Jon Bean looking to be back to match fitness and directing affairs at fly half.
Although missing leading try scorer Luke Townsend to injury there was no lack of firepower in the back line or up front, with tries coming from all directions.
His team mates don’t need reminding of the value to the side of number 8 Andy Orbinson, but he reminded them anyway in his first appearance for over a month; and it was good to see Robin Corrigan joining the action from the bench after a long injury lay-off.
OLs are on the road this Saturday when they face a potentially tricky task against the improving Olney side. The Fenley Field side held on to 4th place in the league with this result and a gap is beginning to open up between the top 4 and the rest, OLs now holding a 6 point advantage over Belgrave in 5th with a home match to come against the Leicester club.