Sat 17 Mar 2018

Stewarts & Lloyds RFC
Old Laurentians RFC
Midlands 2 East (South)

Stewarts & Lloyds 17 - Old Laurentians 32

Report by Bill Wallis

OLs bounced back from defeat a week earlier to earn a bonus point win in Corby on Saturday, skipper Charlie Seager rewarded for his relentless support play with a hat trick of tries.

OLs had first use of an icy wind blowing straight from the Urals, dubbed Putin’s Revenge by the hardy few on the touchline, but failed to take advantage of it and the half time whistle sounded with the score level at 12-12.

But it was a different story in the second half, OLs playing sensible rugby against the wind and keeping the ball in hand to score four excellent tries, S & L getting one back at the death, when the touchline support were willing the referee to blow up so they could seek the refuge of the clubhouse.

S & L’s big pack were prominent in the early stages and after a bullocking run by a second row forward, the full back finished the move with a try after six minutes. OLs were enjoying plenty of possession and territory but it was a further 15 minutes before they responded, with a trademark Luke Townsend try. The ball reached the wing inside OL’s half and he demonstrated his blistering pace to outflank the defence down the touchline before running round to the posts, making the conversion a formality for Jon Bean and a 7-5 lead.

Five minutes later, Seager was quickest to the ball as S & L fluffed a clearance near their line and touched down, the conversion from wide out missing but OLs were now 12-5 to the good.

As the first half approached its end, S & L again turned to their big pack when opting for a scrum instead of a kick when awarded a penalty in OL’s 22 and were rewarded with a try, converted to level the scores at 12-12.

The second half was a different story, the home pack faded and were outplayed by OL’s eight. In one passage of play, OLs made 70 metres through 10 or 12 phases that started close to their line, opting for this tactic. rather than attempting to clear to touch against the strong wind.

After a strong run by Cain Jones through midfield and after the ball was quickly recycled through several phases, a clever pass by Ben Roach found Chris le Poidevin cutting back against the grain, the prop crashing over for a try.

Just four minutes later, fellow prop John Barratt finished a move which featured another excellent contribution from Roach and a slick off load by Seager to Barratt.

Richard Parker’s work commitments restrict his availability, but he has become the ideal impact player off the bench, this time replacing the injured Mike Walsh in the centre. With almost his first touch of the ball he made 30 metres through midfield with a forceful break, Ben Roach revived the attack as it flagged and sent Charlie Seager over to touch down.

As the game entered its final phase, OL’s control had become total. A wickedly bouncing ball denied Ben Anderson a score just a few feet from the home line; and another attack that saw the S & L defence in disarray finished with Charlie Seager touching down for his third try.

OLs now led by 32-12 as none of the four second half tries were converted, the game drawing to a close after a rare incursion into OL’s half by the home team had yielded an injury time try from a close in lineout.

The win means OLs stay in 4th place with everything still to play for. Last Saturday’s clash between 2nd placed Market Harborough and 3rd placed Luton ended in a win for the latter, who leapfrogged their opponents into 2nd spot. This Saturday, OLs travel to Long Buckby intent on turning the tables on their hosts, who inflicted a shock defeat on the Fenley Field side in the reverse fixture, whilst the top 3 all have eminently winnable games. But then it gets very interesting with OLs having home games against both sides immediately above them in the season’s finale. It all promises a fascinating and challenging end to the season!

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

Replacements (all used):
Chris le Poidevin, Jordi Pocknell, Richard Parker

Scorers:
Tries: Charlie Seager (3), Chris le Poidevin, John Barratt, Luke Townsend
Conversion: Jon Bean

Friendly

Old Laurentian 2nd XV 59 – Northampton Casuals 2nd XV 10

Report by Garrie Reeve

OL’s 2nd XV welcomed Northampton Casuals 2ndXV to Fenley Field for a friendly in what was their first home match since late November.
With a side boasting the returning trio from injury of Gary Hammond, Ashley Moore and Sam Miles, OL’s were quick to make up for lack of recent game time. Hammond in particular looked like he had never been away and opened OL’s account with a converted try, with only 5 minutes on the clock.

OLs were to add two more converted tries shortly after. Strong running from Luke Billyeald proved too elusive for the Casuals’ defence, as he touched down under the posts from successive long-range line breaks, leaving the score 21 – 0 after only 10 minutes. Billyeald soon added his third try of the afternoon 10 minutes later, again evading the poor Casuals’ defence which was left grasping thin air.

Towards the end of the half OLs, who were rarely troubled by the Casuals’ offence, were to add their fifth try. Fine passing in the backline and nifty footwork by Tom Steatham saw him dot down out wide resulting in the half time score of 33 – 0 to OLs.

The start of the second half was the complete opposite to the first half. Casuals’ were more prominent in possession and attacked with more intent than they had shown in the first half However, against the run of play powerful running from Moore assisted by centres Shepherd and Billyeald led to Sam Miles scoring on his return to the side.

Undeterred by this setback, Casuals’ came back at OLs and their efforts were finally rewarded on the hour mark. A couple of enforced changes, and a lapse in OL’s concentration allowed Casuals to score two unconverted tries in the space of 5 minutes.

This proved to be Casuals’ last meaningful contribution to the match. Stirred into a return to the intensity shown in the first half OLs were to gain possession inside Casuals’ territory for the first time in 20 minutes. After half a dozen of phases and well recycled play by the forwards, Sam White ended a fine backs move by scoring out wide.

The Casuals’ defence was now looking tired having to deal with the whirlwind of attacks thrown at them by the now rampant OLs. Two late tries were to be scored by OL’s. Andy “Willie” Thorne was to pocket a rare try, cannoning his way through the away defence. While Billyeald completed the scoring by adding his 4th try. Sam White ended the game with an encouraging tally of 7 out of 9 kicks.

Overall, a pleasing performance against a tricky Northampton Casuals side that never gave up. This was a good chance to blow the cobwebs away after going without a game for 3 weeks. With the return of key players this week and in coming weeks, success in the remainder of the season is a definite possibility.

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