Tough fixture for Fenley Field side missing key players
Midland 2 East (South)
Old Laurentians 19
Oadby Wyggestonians 43
Oadby Wyggestonians effectively killed off any lingering hopes OLs had of making the promotion play-off spot with this convincing victory over a much-changed home side at Fenley Field, writes Bill Wallis.
With five of their leading players not in the original selection through injury or not available, OLs suffered a further setback when prop Chris le Poidevin was forced to withdraw after the pre-match warm up and Leigh Fisher took his place in the starting line-up, leaving just two replacements on the bench.
But the re-shaped team started strongly and were the dominant side in the first quarter, led by some impressive charges by Ash Moore at number 8. OLs registered the first score after 16 minutes, Charlie Seager touching down to finish off an attack that he had started with a powerful run through midfield, Ben Roach adding the goal points.
On 22 minutes, and on their first incursion into OL’s half, the big Oadby pack demonstrated their power when driving lineout possession fully 20 metres to touch down, the try was converted and the scores were level.
Oadby’s fly half was putting up some probing kicks in an attempt to test OL’s back three but full back Ollie Jones dealt capably with everything that came his way and was always looking to combine with his wings and launch a counter attack, sending Jordan Bunn away on a fine run that was just held by the last Oadby defender as the line loomed.
But in the last five minutes of the first half, the visitors rocked OLs back on their heels, scoring 2 well executed tries from possession turned over in OL’s half, each converted with fine touch line kicks and the break arrived with OWs 21-7 ahead.
OLs were by no means out of the contest at this point if they could re-discover the drive they had displayed earlier. But OWs landed a killer blow within 3 minutes of the re-start when their centre scattered defenders as he ran strongly from first phase possession to score, the conversion lifting their lead to 28-7.
OLs did succeed in lifting their game for the next 15 minutes, culminating in a well taken try by Troy Owen to reduce the deficit to 12-28. But twice OL’s handling let them down and twice OWs took full advantage to add further tries. Now well in charge of the game, OWs added one more score before a late riposte by OLs saw Ben Shepherd force his way over in the corner, Roach improving his try for the game’s final score.
# This loss saw OLs slip to fifth place in the league, now six points behind OWs who stay in second, one point ahead of Oundle and chalking up their ninth successive win in this game. The ultimate destiny of the play-off position now rests between those two clubs, who meet in a probable decider in two weeks’ time.
Next up for OLs is a trip to Oakham on Saturday and given their indifferent away form it is far from a straightforward encounter, despite the good home win recorded over the same opponents last December.