Final of 2nd teams competition will be OLs against Newbold at Webb Ellis Road on Sunday, April 23
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Clonmel Cup semi-final
Old Laurentians 2nd XV 43 –
Long Buckby 2nd XV 12
OLs set up a mouth watering final against local rivals Newbold with a comprehensive victory against a spirited Long Buckby side, writes David Middleton.
OLs started the game brightly but nerves looked to be getting to them as they failed to put a score on the board during the first quarter, due to some poor decisions in the final third and some resolute defence from the visitors.
But they opened their account after some excellent work from the pack, driving deep into the opposition half, and when the ball was worked out to the strong running Sam Miles the centre was unstoppable, White adding the conversion.
OLs were completely dominating the scrum where the returning Chris le Poidevin was proving what an asset he is to the team and from this solid set piece the ball was worked out to Ben Shepherd and he did what he has been doing all season and brushed off any would be tacklers on his way to the line, White again converting.
OLs were enjoying the majority of possession and territory but were struggling to pull away on the score board as Buckby defended superbly.
Sam White knocked over a penalty as the half drew to a close to give his side a 17-point advantage, but after being reduced to 14 men for 10 minutes the home sides defences were breached after some fine interplay from the visitors to put themselves back in the game, 17-5 at half time.
The half time talk was all about raising the intensity level and taking the chances created but shortly after the restart another yellow card saw the home side down to 13.
Buckby sensed this was their chance but try as they might they could not break OL’s defensive line, as led by the excellent Nick Martin they were knocked back time and again.
OLs were now back to full strength and for the next 25 minutes played some fantastic rugby.
Hard working second rower Cain Jones opened their second half account, powering over from close range with White again adding the conversion.
Billy Steatham was next to add his name to the score sheet, streaking down the wing to touch down in the corner after more excellent interplay from forwards and backs alike.
Not to be out done by his second-row partner, James Harris rounded off another fine passage of play with a graceful swan dive close to the posts, making the extras a formality for White.
Buckby’s never-say-die attitude was a credit to them and they were rewarded with a converted score as the game drew to a close.
OLs had the last say when Le Poidevin rounded off an excellent afternoon’s work with a barn storming run that was simply unstoppable and White duly dispatched the kick.
This was a superb afternoon’s work for Nick Martin’s men who after a couple of indifferent weeks found the form that has served them so well, but all concerned know it is going to take another huge step up if they are to lift the cup at the end of the season, but a step they are more than capable of taking.
l The final against Newbold 2nds will be at Webb Ellis Road on Sunday, April 23, kick off at 2.15pm.