Tue 20 Feb 2018 12:16

Sat 17 Feb 2018

Old Laurentians RFC
Pinley RFC
Midlands 2 East (South)

Old Laurentians 34 – Pinley 7

Report by Bill Wallis

A resurgent Pinley side made OLs work hard for what was ultimately a comfortable, bonus point win. The Coventry club’s fortunes are on an upward trend in the second half of the season and they demonstrated their new found resolve in a first half performance that restricted OLs to a 13-0 lead at the break.

OLs had to make a couple of late changes to the selected 15, scrum half Sam White and lock forward Ben O’Riordan succumbing to flu. James Collins stepped in at 9 and, despite just thirty minutes of 2nd team action under his belt since injury last September, looked sharp; and Chris le Poidevin came into the second row.

Leading the way for OLs were the Brothers Bunn. Jordan of that ilk added 2 tries to his growing seasonal total; and Robbie was faultless off the tee, contributing 14 points to the team’s total with the boot.

Robbie Bunn kicked an early penalty and followed it up with a second after 25 minutes. In between the two, it was Pinley who held the initiative, dominating territory and enjoying the lion’s share of possession, but they failed to find a way through an OL’s defence that was unyielding.

The home side came increasingly into the game as the half progressed and it was fly half Ben Roach who was providing the spark and lighting the fires. After 25 minutes he scythed through the Pinley defence from 40 metres out before sending Bunn (Jordan) away for a try, Bunn (Robbie) adding the goal points for a 13-0 lead.

In the second half, OLs took control of the game as their opponents visibly faded but basic errors and wrong options held them back until a Pinley clearance kick found touch inside OL’s half. The quick-thinking Robbie Bunn threw in to Luke Townsend who took off cross-field before linking with Jordan Bunn. The right wing made deep inroads into the Pinley half and when he was held the ball was recycled smartly and arrived with Roach 20 metres out, the fly half carved through the defence to score and Robbie Bunn improved his try for 20-0.

Roach turned creator for the next try with another trademark break, this time finding skipper Charlie Seager on his shoulder and he galloped to the line from 25 metres out, Bunn converting for 27-0.

Ben Scott then took a ball near touch in OL’s half and cut infield, looked up to see where the opposition was thickest and headed straight for it, cutting a swathe through any number of attempted tackles before finally being held. Quick ball was transferred to Bunn (Jordan) and he sprinted over to arrive near the posts and make the conversion for Bunn (Robbie) a formality.

Added time had reached 5 minutes at the end and thoughts had already turned to the bar when the Pinley pack drove over from a lineout to score a hard earned consolation try and spoil the clean defensive sheet.

Although the backs stole most of the glory, the forward eight worked hard to set up the win against a side whose strength lies largely in their big pack. Ben Anderson and Andrew Orbinson mugged the Pinley lineout to pilfer ball on several occasions, hooker Dom Hammond continues to audition for a role in the backs and Robin Corrigan, this week on the flank, looks to be approaching his versatile best after a long injury layoff.

No league fixture this weekend so the Six Nations takes centre stage. Next up on 3rd March is a visit to Corby to play Stewarts & Lloyds when OLs, in 4th position, will be looking to take advantage of the fact that on the same day 2nd placed Market Harborough play 3rd placed Luton, when something has to give!

Robbie Bunn, Jordan Bunn, Luke Townsend, Troy Owen, Ben Scott; Ben Roach James Collins; Olly Cowley, Dom Hammond, John Barratt, Ben Anderson, Chris le Poidevin, Charlie Seager (capt.), Robin Corrigan, Andrew Orbinson.

Replacements (all used):
Nick Martin, Ray Smith, Mike Walsh

Tries: Jordan Bunn (2), Charlie Seager, Ben Roach
Penalties: Robbie Bunn (2)
Conversions: Robbie Bunn (4)

Warwickshire League 1

Pinley 2nd XV 19 – Old Laurentian 2nd XV 15

Report by David Middleton

OLs made the short journey to Pinley with a side ravaged by illness and unavailability but, on paper at least, enough talent to secure the league points, and were ultimately found wanting by a side who grew in confidence as the game progressed and took their chances when they arrived.

OLs started the game on ground that was good to soft and played far better than it looked and were by far the stronger side, dominant in the scrum and wreaking havoc in the loose, Cain Jones in particular catching the eye, thundering around the field like a man possessed.

It was from one of Jones's breaks that OLs opened the scoring, after the big second row had made huge yards and the ball was worked out to the veteran fly half 'Jimmy' White who pirouetted through the last tackle to touch down and convert his own try.

Pinley were struggling to get a foot hold in the game and the 'whirlwind ' increased his side’s lead with a well struck penalty.

As half time approached Pinley got themselves into the match as their lively fly half danced through what can only be described as flaky tackling to touch down in the corner and with the conversion missing the half ended with OLs leading 10-5.

The second half started well for the visitors as they continued to lay siege to the Pinley line and after a series of strong drives were held just short Stu Bage picked up and dived over a pile of bodies to touch down, White mis-cued the conversion but OLs held a healthy advantage.

The next 30 minutes were difficult to fathom as OLs just seemed to stop playing and Pinley sensed, quite rightly, that they could get something out of the game.

A speculative kick from the home 10 appeared to be dealt with by Steatham at full back but his clearing kick was fielded inexplicably by McGill some 30 metres off side, Pinley reacted quickly and got the ball back to where the kick had been taken, tapped a quick penalty and strolled under the posts with most of the OL's side stranded around half way, making the conversion a simple task.

Pinley continued to apply the pressure as OLs couldn't get their foot back on the gas and another kick in behind the visitors defence saw the Pinley wing three quarter win the race for the touch down, the conversion sailed between the posts and the hosts had a lead they were not to surrender.

As the game entered its final 10 minutes OLs at last looked like their old selves and threw everything at Pinley but despite numerous penalties and 5 metre scrums they failed to get over the white wash as a combination of strong home defence and poor options saw them squander a golden opportunity to steal it at the death.

This was indeed a bitterly disappointing result due in the main to the lacklustre second half showing, but Pinley deserve all the plaudits for taking their chances when they came along.

OLs must re-group quickly, learn from the mistakes made and focus on the positives moving forward.