OLs third in the league going into the new year
PICTURES BY MIKE BAKER
Midlands 2 East (South)
Old Laurentians 31 Market Bosworth 5
Report by Bill Wallis
OLs eased to a comfortable, bonus point victory over Market Bosworth and in doing so inflicted on the visitors their heaviest defeat of the season. The win came at a cost, however, as OLs lost Troy Owen early on to a knee injury, the centre having been the standout player of the season so far with 11 tries in his previous 13 matches, Robbie Bunn coming on for his league debut to join brother Jordan in the back line.
The morning rain put paid to any fears that the pitch at Fenley Field would be frozen and unplayable, but, unhelpfully, it continued into the afternoon and didn’t help the style of play that suits OLs, with the ball greasy and conditions underfoot tricky.
OLs enjoyed almost all the early possession and territory but a tenacious Bosworth side defended well to keep them at bay for the first 25 minutes, strong running by Owen and Richard Parker giving their defensive skills a stern test. Then, unusually, OLs lost a lineout close to their opponents’ try line but possession was not cleanly won by Bosworth and Andy Orbinson was quickest to a loose ball to dart over and touch down, Sam White adding the goal points for a 7-0 lead.
The pace in OL’s back three was always a threat to Bosworth and after 35 minutes Luke Townsend and Jordan Bunn combined for Bunn to finish with a try, White converted and the lead was extended to 14-0.
OLs suffered a further injury blow when second row James Harris was forced to leave the action with a badly cut ear as half time approached. In injury time as the break loomed, Bosworth gained a rare foothold in OL’s 22 and came away with a well worked try when they switched play to outflank the defence, the conversion attempt went astray and half time arrived with OLs 14-5 to the good.
The pattern of the first half was repeated in the second with most of the play in Bosworth territory, the visitors stubbornly keeping OLs out. But the pressure began to tell in the final 20 minutes, starting with a fine run by Robbie Bunn that took play deep into the Bosworth half, only for a deliberate knock on to foil OLs. But the next score soon followed when an unstoppable drive from a lineout 15 metres out led to a try, hooker John Barratt getting the touchdown. White’s conversion attempt from wide just faded away and OL’s lead was extended to 19-5.
Straight from the re-start, wing Luke Townsend used his electric pace to leave the defence in his wake when following up and gathering a kick ahead to go over, White improving his try with the conversion for a 26-5 scoreline.
A series of powerful forward drives and fluent interplay with the back line set up the position from which James Orbinson went over in the final minutes to extend the lead to 31-5, a result which leaves OLs in 3rd position in the league. With Luton’s game abandoned part way through, they sit 2 points behind OLs but now with a game in hand.
OL’s next action will be on December 30th when they take on Earlsdon in the next round of the Warwickshire Shield on the Coventry club’s ground. This is followed on January 6th when OLs travel to face league leaders Oadby Wyggestonians in the next Midlands 2 game, a critical one for both clubs. OLs are the only club to have beaten Oadby this season and will be going all out to repeat their earlier success.
Old Laurentian Juniors
Two of OL’s Junior sides were in action in the quarter finals of their respective age group competitions in the Warwickshire Cup last weekend and both won to take their places in the semi-finals.
The Under 14s travelled to Barkers Butts and came away with a hard fought 12-5 win in conditions that didn’t suit their open style of play. Winger Scott Hendry scored 2 tries in the first half, his side turning round with a 12-0 lead. But the game descended into a forward based contest in the second half with OLs forced to defend against a much bigger Barker’s pack, the back row outstanding as they limited their opponents to 1 try. The semi-final pitches them against Silhillians Under 14s, the game to be played on their opponents’ ground in the New Year.
The Under 16s were at Stratford for a tough looking assignment, made worse by cold and very wet conditions which made handling tricky. But they overcame all obstacles superbly to come through this quarter final with a 25-0 win.
Stratford were well organised in attack but could find no way through OL’s superb defence and out of their own half. Prop Tom Parker scored the only try of the first half for a 5-0 lead at the break. He then scored his second early in the second half to extend the lead to 10-0. Dan Price increased the lead with a penalty before skipper and scrum half Callum Cooke took a quick penalty to dart over from 15 metres, Price adding the goal points for 20-0.
Coming on as a replacement after the break, hooker Tom Boult rounded off the scoring with a magnificent solo try from 65 metres directly from the re-start to round off the scoring and a fine victory.
Next up are Old Leamingtonians in the semi-final, on a date to be arranged in the New Year.
OL’s Under 15s will be looking to make it a hat trick of quarter final victories for the club when they take on Kenilworth early in 2018.