The one that got away for OLs

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Rugby & District Clonmell Cup Final

Old Laurentians 2nd XV 17 – Lutterworth 2nd XV 19

OLs must even now be wondering how they contrived to lose this one. Leading 17-3 at the break they had dominated the first half and should have built a larger lead with the chances they created.

But in the second half Lutterworth fought back with great spirit to eat away steadily at OLs lead and eventually reverse it. They also revealed a depth of talent in their ranks when their two half time substitutions added pace and purpose to their backline that hadn’t been apparent before, one of them kicking the four goals that won the game for his side. But even then OLs had chances to snatch the game back in the final ten minutes which they spurned.

Lutterworth drew first blood to kick a penalty after just four minutes when OLs fell offside at a lineout. But OLs took play into Lutterworth’s half where they were to stay for the next 35 minutes. After twelve minutes, quick possession from a scrum near the Lutterworth line was moved sweetly along the line for Ben Shepherd to put Grant Inch over on the left, Tom Jolley converting well from wide out. Seven minutes later, after another prolonged spell of pressure, Matt Cockman put a shrewd grubber through a hole in the defence and followed it up to claim the try, Jolley again converting.

Now camped in the opposition 22, OLs were denied a try when the referee judged the ball to be held up; and wasted another opportunity when a pass was put down with the line beckoning. Stout Lutterworth defence just held them out on several other occasions. Jolley added a penalty and OLs could well have been sitting on a 30 point lead at the break.

Instead a different story unfolded in the second half. Lutterworth enjoyed a greater share of possession, particularly at the lineout, where OLs were badly misfiring now, and they started their comeback with a try after a scrum close to OLs line. This was converted by their new kicker who then proceeded to punish OLs misdemeanours with three penalties, after 10, 25 and 35 minutes, the last kick giving his side what turned out to be a winning lead. Although OLs were holding most of their attacking efforts, Lutterworth missed a try when the last pass was put down with the defence beaten. After a penalty attempt on goal from within Jolley’s range was spurned in favour of a kick to the corner, the full back had two more attempts at goal from more difficult positions, both falling short. Lutterworth resisted OLs last attempts to get over their line and held on to claim a hard earned victory and the Clonmell Cup.