Mon 04 Dec 2017 21:26

Sat 2 Dec 2017

Old Laurentians RFC
Long Buckby RFC
Midlands 2 East (S)

Old Laurentians 12 – Long Buckby 13

Report by Bill Wallis

Saturday dawned cold, dull and damp and OLs produced a performance to match the day, Long Buckby leaving Fenley Field with the win points, and deservedly so. For the first time this season, OLs failed to win a try bonus point, thanks to a performance full of grit, determination and outstanding defence by the visitors.

A major contribution for Buckby came from the unerringly accurate boot of fly half Dan McNally, who was successful with 3 from 3 opportunities, none of them straightforward, whereas OLs could only manage 1 from 3.

When OLs went into the break with a lead, albeit a narrow one at just 7-3, their supporters confidently expected them to stretch away to the win. They had spent virtually the whole of the first 40 in Buckby’s half, much of that camped in their 22, and Chris le Poidevin had come close to a try after a buccaneering 30 metre run but was caught just a couple of strides from the line by a last-ditch ankle tap. But their sole reward was a well taken try from Troy Owen after 20 minutes play, Jon Bean adding the goal points.

McNally replied with a penalty for Buckby on their first excursion into OL’s half with 30 minutes gone; and his team did break into OL’s 22 for the first time on the stroke of half time to mount a strong drive on the line but OL’s defence held firm.

The second half mirrored the first as OLs continued to enjoy a territorial advantage, but Buckby did feature more prominently as the half wore on and after 6 minutes McNally kicked a penalty to reduce OL’s lead to 7-6. The tight scrums were evenly contested but OLs won the lineout battle, taking several Buckby throws. The visitors’ line speed meant they put OL’s backs under constant pressure and at the breakdown they competed strongly, slowing down OL’s possession from this source with their spoiling play. The result was that OLs were unable to get their backs moving to take advantage of the pace they have on the wings.

It was Buckby who struck next after a long attack down their left and flanker Eales got over the line, McNally converting with a fine kick to give Buckby a 13-7 lead.

OLs went back on the offensive and from a penalty lineout 10 metres out Paul Lewis got the touch down as the pack drove for the line. The conversion was missed, as was a penalty five minutes later, so OLs were left with the minor consolation of a losing bonus point.

OLs are missing the drive and power of Ash Moore who suffered a freak accident in training which left him with a serious leg break. He has had an operation since to start on the long road to recovery and everybody at OLs wishes him well.

OLs held on to 4th place in the league despite this setback but will need to show a dramatic improvement on Saturday if they are to come away with a result when they travel to Luton, the home club sitting one place and six points above them.

Ben Roach, Jordan Bunn, Troy Owen, Ben Scott, Luke Townsend, Jon Bean, Sam White, John Barratt, Dom Hammond, Mark Todd, Ben Anderson, Chris le Poidevin, James Orbinson, Charlie Seager(Capt), Andrew Orbinson

Replacements (all used):
Mike Walsh, Ray Smith, Paul Lewis.

Tries: Owen, Lewis
Conversion: Bean