Sat 24 Mar 2018

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

Long Buckby 17 - Old Laurentians 33

Report by David Middleton

On a damp, grey afternoon in Northamptonshire, cheered on by a large number of travelling VPs OLs ran out, on the scoreboard at least, comfortable winners thanks in the main to a much improved second half performance.

OLs travelled to Long Buckby looking for revenge after Buckby had claimed the narrowest of victories in the earlier meeting between the teams.
As the drizzle fell steadily the game got under way and the early exchanges were ferociously contested with neither side prepared to take a backward step. Buckby arguably had a slight edge in the scrum with the line out generally going with the throw.

OLs registered the first points of the game, after a strong break from James Orbinson was halted and the ball was worked wide for fullback Robbie Bunn to put Luke Townsend away, the wing touching down out wide but the conversion narrowly missed.

Immediately from the restart OLs gave away a needless penalty which the Buckby 10 duly dispatched for 3-5.

Buckby's defence was once again looking strong and coupled with some poor decisions from OLs meant the Fenley outfit struggled to get any of their usual fluency into their game.

The home side then put OLs under some pressure and from a scrum close to OL's line an infringement led to the award of a penalty try, giving the home side the lead for the first and only time at 10-5.

As the half drew to a close Buckby lost a man to the sin bin and OLs needed to take advantage of the numerical difference. They duly obliged when centre Roach's break was halted 10 metres out James Orbinson was once again on hand to pick up at the ruck and race over the line, Bean adding the extras to send OLs in at the break with a slender 10-12 lead.

The half time team talk must surely have been about keeping possession and taking the chances that they were creating and OLs did not disappoint as the fluency returned to their game and the confidence visibly grew.

OL's forwards took all the credit for the next score, as they drove the Buckby pack some 30 metres, Dom Hammond claiming the touch down and with Bean adding an excellent conversion, OLs had a little breathing space at 10-19.

Buckby however had different ideas and came straight back at OLs and after several strong forward drives forced their way over near the posts, allowing the fly half to land the conversion and bring his side right back into the contest.

This spurred OLs on and led by the tireless back row of Seager, Orbinson and Orbinson the home side were not to cross their line again.
OL's back line were now keeping the ball in hand and troubling the tiring Buckby defence. A break from inside his own half by Jordan Bunn set up OL’s next score as the ball was moved right then left where Townsend once again showed his pace to score his second of the match, Bean adding an excellent conversion.

Buckby continued to test OLs but the green wall held strong, and when OLs turned the ball over deep in their own half Hammond kicked into space. Scrum half James Collins showed excellent pace and deft footballing skills to control the ball and touch down under the posts in a lung busting 60m dash, Bean added the conversion to conclude the afternoons scoring.

Head Coach Andy Milner was particularly pleased with his side’s second half improvement after a tough first 40, as OLs dominated possession and applied themselves far more effectively in the second half, a sentiment echoed by skipper Charlie Seager, who also noted that Buckby deserved huge respect for the way they played but felt that ultimately the best team had won.

Robbie Bunn, Luke Townsend, Ben Roach, Troy Owen, Luke Townsend; Jon Bean, James Collins; Olly Cowley, Dom Hammond, John Barratt, Ben Anderson, Cain Jones, Charlie Seager (capt.), James Orbinson, Andrew Orbinson.

Replacements (all used):
Ray Smith, Ben O’Riordan, Sam White

Tries: Luke Townsend (2) James Orbinson, Dom Hammond, James Collins
Conversions: Jon Bean (4)


Old Laurentian 2nd XV 30 – Long Buckby 2nd XV 7

Report by Garrie Reeve

OL’s 2nd XV welcomed Long Buckby to Fenley Field for their third encounter this season.
Due to late cry offs, OLs fielded a side with many changes from the previous week’s.
Sam Miles reverted to the centre, Andy Thorne filled in at fly half, with Jordi Pocknell
partnering James Harris in the second row.

These changes took a little getting used to with the first 20 minutes a stalemate, as both
sides looked to find a way through the well organised defences. However, Buckby were to
open the scoring after a lapse in concentration and some missed tackles led to a breakaway
try under the posts for a 7 - 0 lead.

This was a brief lapse however, as with renewed concentration the excellent OL’s forwards
got their team back into the contest. Strong running from Harris, Pocknell, the evergreen
Gary Hammond and the improving Ash Moore gave the OLs decent territory from which
they could attack the Buckby line and after a number of well recycled phases of play,
Pocknell crossed the line in the corner for an unconverted try.

OL’s continued to attack for the remainder of the half only to be stopped by illegal
infringements by Long Buckby. Andy Thorne, who had taken over kicking duties, converted
two penalties to leave the half time score 11 – 7 to OL’s.

Refreshed by the half time break both sides attacked each other with renewed frequency.
However, both defences stood firm in what was proving to be a highly competitive match. It
was not until the 65th minute that OL’s managed to add to their score. The late arrival of Luke Billyeald
into the side was a boost to the OL’s attack and after numerous phases inside the Buckby
22, Billyeald was able to force his way over the line close to the posts for a converted try.

The Buckby defence were now looking tired and it was not long before Ben Shepherd was to
follow his centre partner in scoring a third try for OLs. Excellent forward play and direct
running from the backs created numerous phases deep inside Buckby territory, Shepherd
finishing off a slick passing move as he proved too hard for the Buckby defence to handle.
Thorne converted for the extra 2 points.

Tiredness and injuries meant that for the last 10 minutes of the game, Buckby were not the
threat they had earlier been. It was the OL’s that were to score the last points of the contest
as Harris, aided by the rest of the forward pack, drove over the line to score a well deserved
try of his own. Thorne missed out on a maximun as he miscued his kick to the right of
the posts.

This was a well contested game by two, now familiar, sides which was not reflected by the
final score line. A good build up to OL’s Clonmell Cup semi-final against Southam in
two weeks time. OL s will need a repeat of this performance if they are to progress to
another final.