Victory for 2nd XV in Warwickshire League too
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midlands West 2 (South)
Old Laurentians 45 Nuneaton Old Edwardians 22
Report by Bill Wallis
OLs had to work hard for this win over a lively and competitive Old Eds side who were well in contention when half time arrived with OLs holding a slender 12-10 lead. But the home side added five second half tries to stretch their lead to 45-10 before Eds came back with two late scores of their own to earn a well-deserved bonus point.
OLs are developing considerable strength in depth in their playing resources, leading to what is now a 12-match sequence of league wins, and those resources were again tested when five key players – the core of the team – were sidelined by injury for this game.
Marc Eagles returned to the side for just his fifth start this season and immediately gelled with centre partner Ben Roach, the pair proving a real handful for Old Ed’s defence before Eagles had to leave the action early in the second half with a leg injury.
Jon Bean came back into the side and ran the show from fly half; and making one of his occasional appearances on the flank, Chris Peachey produced another performance of non-stop action.
OLs’ first try came after Harry Spears was first to a long, raking kick from Bean and fed Eagles as he was tackled for the centre to cross, Bean adding the goal points. Five minutes later Spears again featured with a long run down the flank, Jordan Bunn quickly tapped a subsequent penalty award and Charlie Seager finished the move to touch down wide out for 12-0.
During the second quarter OLs continued to move the ball around freely but the balance swung Old Eds’ way as they went over for two tries. The first came when OLs lost a lineout close to their own line and Eds forwards drove to touch down; and the second when their strong running centre splintered OLs’ defence to run in from 30 metres out, reducing the margin to 12-10 at the break.
Early in the second half OLs extended their lead with a penalty try, the referee judging that an Old Ed’s player had knocked the ball forward deliberately when going for an interception close to his own line.
Five minutes later Ash Moore drove over to score after a well-executed play by OLs at the front of a lineout, lifting the score to 24-10. The home side went further ahead after an Eds’ attack broke down in OLs’ 22, Luke Townsend snapped up the loose ball and ran 75 metres to score, Bean improving his try for 31-10.
OLs were attacking when a pass hit the deck on the 10-metre line, Dom Hammond retrieved the ball and from a highly unpromising position, ran it back and waltzed through Eds’ defence before quick possession reached Bean and he sniped through to score, adding the goal points himself for a 38-10 lead.
There followed arguably the best try of the game. Eds were attacking inside OLs’ 22 when a lofted pass was attempted out towards the wing, but the passer failed to notice that there was a 6ft 7in lock forward, namely Ben Anderson, in the defensive line. Being the accomplished line out practitioner that he is, Anderson leapt to take the pass over his head, set off for the line and, remarkably for a 2nd row forward, out ran the cover defence to touch down after a run of 60 metres or more. Bean’s conversion took him past 100 points for the season and OLs were 45-10 ahead.
To their credit, Old Eds refused to give up the battle and hit back with two tries in the last 10 minutes, the second from their own 22 when they worked through a series of phases to cover the length of the pitch and score, the final whistle following.
The win lifted OLs into second place in the league, which has now developed into a three-horse race. Kenilworth are sitting comfortably at the top, Kidderminster are just a point adrift of OLs in third, but 4th placed Earlsdon are a further 11 points back. This Saturday OLs travel to take on Old Coventrians, who are invariably a tricky proposition on their own ground.
Warwickshire League 1
Nuneaton Old Edwardians 2nd XV 11 – Old Laurentians 2nd XV 31
Report by Garrie Reeve
OLs’ 2nd team travelled to Nuneaton for this return league fixture and found themselves a try down inside the first few minutes.
OLs were struggling to get a foothold in the game and after ten minutes, Old Eds increased their lead to 11-0 with a penalty. This was the wakeup call the OLs required and they were able to turnover the ball and finally establish some possession.
Unfortunately, OLs were to lose winger Nathan Ruddell to a knee injury after 15 minutes, however, from the resulting scrum a well created move saw captain Sam White cross the Old Eds’ try line to reduce the margin to 5-11.
Barely 2 minutes had passed when full back, Cory Thomas, scored his first try for the club when fine movement by the backs saw them open up the Old Eds’ defence to release Thomas to score by the posts, converted to give them a 12-11 lead
A few minutes later OLs increased their lead again. Will Adam rounding the home defence to finish off a simple passing movement and Thomas added the conversion to leave the half time score 19-11 to OLs.
The second half began in similar fashion to the first half with Old Eds taking the game to the OLs. Attacking with more urgency, they starved OLs of possession and pinned them into their own half with accurate kicking.
With Eds line out going well OLs had their work cut out to prevent a score from another catch and drive and were able to keep the Old Eds’ attack at bay
On the hour mark, OLs gained possession inside their own territory and young flanker Toby Corrigan was able to speed through a gap before feeding Gary Hammond. The veteran OLs’ hooker then passed to Adam, taking OLs deep into Old Eds territory. When tackled, Adam was able to offload the ball back to the supporting Corrigan who raced away to the try line to score his first try for the 2nd team
With the lead now 13 points. OLs still could not afford to relax especially when a succession of team infringements resulted in flanker James Melvin receiving an unfortunate yellow card. This did not seem to hamper OLs effort and from an attacking scrum Ben Shepherd cut a trademark inside line to run unchallenged to the try line. With Thomas adding the conversion and time fading away OLs could see out the remainder of the game.
This result leaves the 2nd team in an excellent position in their league going into a period where selection can be compromised by injury and the approaching international fixtures. With a nucleus of the side playing regularly and the inclusion of young players coming through the ranks the team should be able continue their recent form.