Storming win with 11-try blitz

Picture by Ray Todd
Picture by Ray Todd

Midlands 2 West (South)

Old Laurentians 69

Earlsdon 0

When Earlsdon arrived at Fenley Field, boosted by their win the previous Saturday over Newbold and with the memory still fresh of a very tight encounter with OLs on their ground in October, they were probably expecting a close match with a chance of some league points.

But they met a Laurentian side in absolutely irresistible mood and were blown away by an 11-try blitz from the Bilton side.

OLs pack set up the win with another storming display that had their opponents on the back foot in every phase of forward play and who linked superbly with a backline that had far too much pace and power for the visitors.

Ben Nuttall and Carl Adams set the tone as they stormed through the Earlsdon defence early on and set up the chance for Lee Hersey to scoot in near the corner.

Superb interplay and support sent Danny Murch on his way for a try; then Murch snapped up a loose ball after the Earlsdon pack were put under pressure at a scrum and sent Hersey on a 50 metre run for his second try and a 21-0 lead after 15 minutes.

Four minutes later and OLs won a lineout 15 metres out from the visitors’ line and brushed aside all resistance with a superbly controlled driving maul for a try touched down by Glenn Todd. Ten minutes later, and in almost the same position, they repeated the play for Adams to touch down and bring up 500 league points for the team this season. Lee Hersey came close to a first-half hat-trick but his foot brushed the touchline on his way to the line and the interval arrived with OLs 31-0 ahead.

The home side moved the scoreboard on within three minutes of the re-start after a scrum was won against the head and a well-executed miss move in the centre sent Simon Bayliss away. He relaxed as he approached the line and was caught, but flipped up a pass for Murch to go over under the posts. Five minutes later and Iain Wallis touched down near the posts with several men over outside him after strong play by the pack had sucked the defence in.

This was followed three minutes later by the pick of OL’s tries. Earlsdon were attacking and a chip ahead was taken by Bayliss with three men bearing down on him, but he stood up superbly in the tackle to allow the defence to regroup. The ball was won and whipped away with quick hands across the home 22 where it reached Troy Owen, who stepped on the gas to score a fine try from 70 metres out and hoist the 50 points.

This signalled a sterile period for OLs when they gave away a whole series of penalties, mostly for not releasing or killing the ball, quite unnecessarily it seemed as they were dominant in the close quarter exchanges. This allowed Earlsdon some respite and slowed OLs momentum but the visitors were unable to capitalise on this possession.

Then, in the final ten minutes OLs ran in three more tries. The first started in OL’s 22 and featured a powerful run through midfield by Nuttall before Murch finished it off for his hat trick. Next, a near certain try was prevented by a deliberate Earlsdon knock on, Jon Bean put the penalty into the corner and the pack drove over from the lineout for Todd to claim his second.

The final try came after a great run by Owen, who left defenders trailing in his wake. The ball was quickly recycled when he was eventually held, Bayliss took it on and, as he was tackled, offloaded inside to Wallis who went over for his second.

The try scorers take the headlines, but this was another fine 15-man performance by OLs with the whole team combining brilliantly.

n This Saturday, OLs are in Wolverhampton to take on the city’s club in the Midlands semi-final of the RFU Intermediate Cup. They will travel with confidence high and have a real chance of progressing to the Midlands final, and therefore the last eight nationally, of this competition.

They reached the same stage last year and just failed to overcome a very good Stoke-on-Trent side but this year’s squad is stronger all round and must be fancied to go at least one step further. A supporters’ coach will leave Fenley Field at 12noon – see website for full details.